the controversial company known as diamonds for humanity is upping its profile. it ran an ad in the april harper’s bazaar and held a harper’s-sponsored auction of pieces at avery fisher hall in new york in april. but sabiha foster, the london designer who founded the company, says the trade should not fear what she’s doing.
June 1, 2005
The PowerHouse of Taylor
brian wilson, legendary mastermind of the beach boys and now an acclaimed solo artist, wore a piece from hearts on fire’s couture collection during the musicares gala that honored him as man of the year. wilson won a grammy for best rock instrumental performance for “mrs. o’leary’s cow” from his critically hailed smile cd.
the gemological institute of america has compiled its 30 years of synthetic-diamond research into a book, gems & gemology in review: synthetic diamonds. the publication is the first in a projected series. the 300-page book, which features two full-size wall charts, was released at the 2005 baselworld trade fair in april.
every june, this column looks at the significant events of the previous year. june, because it’s the jck show ~ las vegas issue and the issue in which i took the reins as editor-in-chief five years ago. it seems like yesterday, but in terms of issues it’s a long time. totaling our titles, the jck publishing group has produced more than 100 periodicals and 250 editions of our emonday electronic …
richemont, the swiss luxury goods group, has appointed stanislas de quercize as president and chief executive officer of the luxury-jewelry retailer van cleef & arpels. he will assume his new role in september. de quercize has been president and ceo of cartier north america, also part of richemont, since 2002.
some jewelers may balk at the idea of color for bridal but brides today don’t. while the idea of a white wedding is still the majority view, the trend toward color—in everything from gowns to jewelry—is one of the strongest in the bridal industry. research debunks jewelers’ long-held myths that bridal automatically means diamonds, and that selling anything else could hamper profits.
moissanite maker charles & colvard ltd., morrisville, n.c., was the main sponsor of this year’s annual congress of cibjo, the world jewellery confederation. the theme of the congress was “maintaining consumer confidence while facing challenges in the jewellery industry.” hosted by cibjo and implemented by the hong kong jewelry manufacturer’s association, the congress took place march 4-7 at…
in its ongoing efforts to meet worldwide demand for its diamond grading reports and other laboratory services, the gemological institute of america is well under way with substantial expansions of both its east and west coast laboratory locations. after more than a year of planning, construction has begun at the gia gem laboratory headquarters at 580 fifth ave.
the university of alabama at birmingham claims it has a new method for growing synthetic diamonds “100 to 200 times” faster than conventional methods. the new method uses microwave plasma technology, says dr. yogesh vohra, physics professor at the university, who holds the patent to the new technology.
call it a right-hand ring. call it a cocktail ring. call it a fashion statement extraordinaire. she can wear it on her left-hand ring finger, her right-hand middle finger or, heck, even her thumb. the diamond information center’s right-hand-ring campaign does not simply encourage female consumers to buy diamonds for themselves; it wants them to think differently about diamonds.
colored diamonds have a higher profile in the media and fashion world, the natural color diamond association announced during a press reception at the baselworld watch and jewelry fair. managing director sam merksamer highlighted the publicity the group has received for natural-color diamonds, most notably at the academy awards.
market in brief: may 6, 2005…april saw a greater-than-expected decline in the conference board’s consumer confidence index, which dropped more than five points from its march level. in spite of the decline, analysts state that the current level is still indicative of a healthy economy. however, dealers remain cautious, citing slow sales and pays as evidence of a less-than-robust retail cl…
hot diamonds plans to produce a calendar that sororities and fraternities can use as a fund raiser. the calendar will include the dates of historic events and is available to college campus–based organizations to use as a fund raiser for any cause. twelve college students were chosen during a competition and will be flown to las vegas this month for a photo shoot and an invitation-only r…
the charm of charms, written by jade albert and ki hackney and published by abrams books, is a definite must for a jeweler’s coffee table. whether placed in the store for customers to browse and be inspired by, sent to customers as a special gift, or just added to a jeweler’s personal library, this is a worthwhile book to own.
king jewelers, aventura, fla., recently held a benefit to raise money for the children’s cancer caring center, a nonprofit group for children with cancer. the treatment center is the only one of its kind in the southeastern united states that is totally free for children who don’t have medical insurance.
toronto’s henry birks jewelers is formally merging with its subsidiary mayor’s jewelers to form a new chain. birks will take mayor’s place on the american stock exchange, trading under the symbol bmj. each outstanding share of mayor’s common stock not currently owned by birks will be converted into a birks share.
at its annual fashion show in las vegas, le vian will unveil the winners of its first le vian for children design contest, which benefits the jewelers for children charity. the winning designs, chosen in new york in march, have been interpreted by le vian and will be fabricated to be shown for the first time at the company’s red carpet revue during the jck show ~ las vegas 2005.
in memphis, tenn., jewelry stores are like gas stations—”there’s one on every corner”—according to steve ballin, partner, king furs & fine jewelry. so when this purveyor of luxurious coats diversified into fine jewelry 13 years ago, it relied on its fur customers for many initial purchases.
on one of those early spring new york evenings when the city feels alive with possibility, a small group gathered in an uptown church to celebrate what is still impossible. in a commitment ceremony in april sponsored by love and pride jewelry, the first major collection of wedding bands and engagement rings designed specifically for same-sex couples, four couples exchanged vows and rings at st.
at its spring semiannual meeting, members of the leading jewelers guild gathered in palm springs, calif., to discuss the future of family-owned independent jewelers. topics covered included sales growth, unity, and business ethics. the keynote session was delivered by patrick kuhse, a former stockbroker—and convicted felon.
darin l. kath, cpcu, has been promoted to president of jewelers mutual insurance company. kath, who retains his responsibilities as chief operating officer, is responsible for day-to-day operations as well as budgeting, planning, and continued development of the company’s leadership team. jewelers mutual also has appointed chief financial officer and treasurer carol sanders as corporate secretary.
ags laboratories has announced that c. clayton bromberg, cg, has been elected the new chairman of its board of managers. he replaces charles lacy, who served as chairman since 2002. bromberg most recently served as vice chairman on the board of managers. bromberg is a sixth-generation member of bromberg and co.
the california jewelers association recently elected its slate of officers. president james hartstein of jewels by joseph in newport beach will continue to serve through june 30, 2005. robert marks of rogers jewelry co. in modesto will become president for the last six months of 2005 and will serve in the same capacity in 2006.
gary j. long, founder and owner of gary j. long jewelers in stockton, calif., has been chosen to receive the california jewelers association’s robert b. westover distinguished service award. he will be honored during the west coast jewelry show, slated for august 27 at the westin century plaza hotel in los angeles.
long’s jewelers’ wedding band weekend—a two-day opportunity to view an expanded selection of designer wedding bands, as well as meet with vendors of other bridal services such as furniture and apparel—welcomed some 2,000 people to the boston store. several of the retailers, including long’s, gave away gift certificates for up to $1,500.
lucas design international (ldi) has announced a partnership with rocawear to design and produce a series of collections of jewelry, key chains, cufflinks, and other accessories for the rocawear label. the key collection, named roc, roc empress, and elegant, is set to debut in august at the magic fashion trade show in las vegas.
to some observers, it seemed like déjà vu when friedman’s inc., the savannah, ga.–based chain that at its peak operated more than 700 stores in 22 southeastern and midwestern states, filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on jan. 14. although friedman’s route to bankruptcy involved some unique twists and turns, it’s reminiscent of the woes that have befallen other large jewe…
the people behind the istanbul jewelry show have one, not-so-simple aspiration: they want their fair to be a “leading global event.” of course, it may be a while—if ever—before “istanbul” is spoken in the same hallowed breath as vegas and basel. but clearly it’s a fair on the move. the show’s 20th anniversary edition, held this march, was the biggest one ever, drawing 864 exhibitors…
for the second straight year, alpha omega, boston, was a major sponsor of the betting on a cause and a cure event, held on feb. 26. the event, which was established three years ago, this year had a monte carlo theme. it raised funds for three charities, including the cam neely foundation for cancer care, the michael j.
from packets of swarovski crystal beads to ornate multicolor lampworked beads, glass made a strong showing in tucson. show organizers say interest in glass has grown over the last decade. joan johnson, show promoter and owner of the bead renaissance show, headquartered in truth or consequences, n.m., recalls just one bead magazine in publication—bead and button—10 years ago.
in the latest—typically controversial—addition to supplier of choice, de beers will tack on a fee to every sight for what it calls “value-added services” (vas). the fee depends on the size of the company but will range from 1.6 percent to 1.8 percent, says de beers director of marketing stephen lussier.
the franck muller swiss luxury watch group has acquired majority control of the luxury watch and jewelry companies of well-known swiss watch designer rodolphe cattin. a company announcement march 22 said it has “slightly above 50 percent” of the cattin companies—rodolphe & co. (neuchâtel, switzerland) and rodolphe montres et bijoux (bois, switzerland).
for the first time ever, tanzanite (blue zoisite), found only in the merelani hills of tanzania, has been offered to sightholders in a de beers–like manner. the sight took place april 16, through tanzaniteone, the mining company that owns the rights to most of the tanzanite in merelani. seven tanzanite firms were invited to participate.
friedman’s, currently in chapter 11, has appointed pamela j. romano its president and chief operating officer. she will report to chief executive officer sam cusano. romano has over 25 years of retail jewelry experience. most recently, she served as group senior vice president of zale corp. and president of zales jewelers for seven years.
japanese akoya pearls, thought to be an endangered species, are back, and in a big way: in 8, 9, and 10 mm. how did pearl producers get the small akoya to handle such whoppers? avi raz, pearl expert and owner of a&z pearls, los angeles, explains: “the chinese started concentrating on the smaller-size freshwater pearls, improving their quality quite significantly, very much resembling akoya.
this year’s international conference of the society of north american goldsmiths will be held in cleveland, june 22–25, at the sheraton cleveland city center. the 2005 conference, titled intersection, will address the intersection of jewelry, metalsmithing, and enameling with industrial design, the fine arts, and fashion.
luxury jewelry- and watchmaker léon hatot celebrated its 100-year anniversary in march with a celebration at christie’s in paris. the high-end brand, owned and distributed by the swatch group, marked the anniversary with a new collection called eventail (french for “fan”). the new line includes a covered curved rectangular timepiece with 167 full-cut diamonds on the cover motif, matching w…
octogon systems, basel, switzerland, is introducing the first pictorial invoice/memo system. computer software lets retailers create invoices and memos showing images of inclusions, aiding identification of their diamonds and color gems. the pictorial invoice or memo and corresponding information for each gemstone or diamond are stored electronically in a pictorial database.
Fine Print Nearly 80 percent of consumers comfortably shop and make purchases at stores, online, and through catalogs, using retail formats interchangeably. A year ago, however, a little more than 57.3 percent of consumers satisfied shopping needs across multiple channels. Source: “Retail Demand 2005: Emerging Consumer Desires in the Retail Sector,” from Adjoined Research. Annual…
the two makers of the world-famous red multifunction swiss pocketknives (with the iconic swiss flag) and watches have merged. victorinox ag has bought its smaller rival wenger sa, the two companies announced april 26. both wenger and victorinox produce swiss-made watches, sold in the united states under the names, respectively, of wenger and swiss army.
solomon berk doesn’t really consider himself a pioneer, just a business owner in search of more space. after 15 years in a third-floor office near manhattan’s famous diamond district, he is moving his first class imports to a new frontier of sorts, across the river to brooklyn. specifically, his firm is building at a 25,000-square-foot location, which is more than eight times the size of its cu…
the 2004 sales of the swatch group rose 4.7 percent to $3.49 billion, at current exchange rates, says its annual report, released in march. double-digit sales in upscale and luxury watches helped propel that gain, said the group. watches, its core business, showed the strongest gain. those sales rose 9.
b&n jewelry, parent company of britannia bridal, gave students at the university of georgia’s adworks club the assignment to devise a new logo, along with a public relations package, for britannia bridal. jeff unger, president of britannia bridal, b&n jewelry, said the project was a way for college students to get practical experience in their field.
design piracy: protecting your product is the focus of a special one-day executive-level conference slated to be held june 14 at the harvard club in new york city. the conference is a legal and business primer for retail and manufacturing executives who need solutions for fighting design knockoffs, copyright, patent, or any other intellectual-property infringement.
vivienne westwood, the english fashion designer known as the high priestess of punk, has expanded her talents into precious metals and diamonds. the collection debuted in basel with a gala party held in a tent on the fairgrounds. the centerpiece of westwood’s first fine-jewelry collection is—what else?—a gold safety pin with a diamond dangle.
mark gershburg, the former head of egl usa, has left that company to start a “21st-century” lab that will target chain stores and mass marketers. joining gershburg at his new venture, gemological science international, is deborah azar, who handled chain-store accounts at egl usa. gershburg says gsi will be a “lean mean” lab with lower costs and faster delivery times.
the jeweler’s resource bureau announced that globaldesign, the company’s international showcase of jewelry designers, drew a record number of buyers to its annual show in the marriott hotel in philadelphia, feb. 18–20. buyers chose from the work of 22 designers who displayed their work in a salon setting.
this month while the boss is away at the jck show ~ las vegas 2005 buying new merchandise, i thought i would detail my top 10 ways that a salesperson can increase personal sales. each is based on three underlying goals: (1) get more people to come into the store, (2) sell to more of the people that are already coming into the store—increasing your closing ratio, and (3) sell more to the p…
in response to the outpouring of condolences at the passing of world-renowned gemologist dr. edward gübelin, the gübelin gem lab, which he founded, is presenting a short presentation/lecture titled the professional work of edward j. gübelin during the jck show ~ las vegas 2005. the presentation will take place at 9 a.
at first glance, kathy ireland and elizabeth taylor seem to be an unlikely pair. ireland, a former swimsuit model, has built her name into a billion-dollar brand that popularizes her as a friend to working mothers and everyday women. taylor, one of the 20th century’s most famous cultural icons, is the archetype of the glamorous movie star, a woman whose every move—and every over-the-top j…
managing change—from business reinvention to daily operations—was one of the key themes of the 2005 american gem society conclave, held april 13–16 in hollywood, calif. speakers who addressed the topic included patrick lencioni of the table group and author of the five dysfunctions of a team, one of the event’s keynote speakers; william boyajian, president of the gemological i…
as reported in jck’s march issue, ken scarratt, former director for the american gem trade association’s gem testing center in new york, is back in thailand as director for the gemological institute of america’s bangkok research laboratory. (see upfront gems, “agta gtc lab hires three gemological all-stars,” jck, march 2005, p.
ags laboratories will begin issuing the diamond quality document for the new american gem society performance cut-grade system on the square princess cut. ags now uses a performance-based cut-grade system, where all facets of a diamond are measured in three dimensions rather than two. the lab uses ray-tracing software to trace light traveling through a diamond.
recently, maurice tempelsman of lazare kaplan was asked about the future of de beers. his answer was to the point: “i don’t know, and i don’t think de beers does either.” substitute the “diamond industry” for “de beers,” and tempelsman could be speaking for many people these days. the diamond industry is now, more than ever, grappling with outside forces, from the political (nongovernmental org…
many small-business owners know that annual employee reviews are frequently awkward tasks. but the owner of a san diego–based business recently handled one with relative ease and effectiveness—meaning, the jeweler got positive performance from a poor-performing employee. in order for jck to divulge the details of this review, identities must be kept anonymous to respect the privac…
celebrities craved vintage fashions as spring premieres rolled into new york and california. from deco-inspired coral and onyx to light, airy edwardian influences, the idea of something old is the fashion statement of the moment.
also at conclave, peter yantzer, executive director of the ags laboratory, was awarded the robert m. shipley award, the american gem society’s top honor. it recognizes outstanding service, advancement of the society’s ideals, or furtherance of the understanding and knowledge of gemology. the award was presented during the society’s annual robert m.
ron wilson, jeweler-gemologist in texas, has spotted a trend in the jewelry and gemstone business that he’s not happy about. “it seems that the words ‘phenomenon’ and ‘phenomenal’ have been mixed up,” says wilson. “as i understand it, a person may have a phenomenal crystal of some type that does not exhibit any type of phenomena other than showing great crystal form.
two of the world’s major watchband suppliers—speidel and hirsch—have ended their years-long u.s. distribution agreement. speidel inc., headquartered in east providence, r.i., is the leading north american supplier of watchbands, with more than 10,000 retail accounts. hirsch armbänder gmbh, of klagenfurt, austria, sells its watchbands in watch and jewelry stores in 62 countries …
building a retail brand takes leadership, strong first impressions, outstanding customer service, and a willingness to take risks, keynote speaker michael fortino told the opening luncheon of the american gem society conclave in hollywood, calif. fortino, a top national business speaker and trainer, urged jewelers to take chances and never settle in their quest for greatness.
baselworld 2005, the globe’s largest watch and jewelry trade show (march 31–april 3) ended with strong sales results (de-spite the weak dollar) and a big sigh of relief from its operators at completion of a $668 million multiyear makeover of the fair and its facilities. some 89,700 visitors—only 0.
during the course of the past few months i’ve been on the road traveling to different parts of the country where i have interviewed retail jewelers for a consulting assignment. it has been an interesting experience because, frankly, it’s been a long time since i’ve actually called on retailers in their stores or their headquarters.
a fascinating fact about swiss-watch trade shows—besides their timepieces—is that they are growing in number in geneva, making it increasingly an international showcase for very high-end watches. more watch brands, primarily luxury ones, are holding small shows or events in spring at the same time as, but independent from, baselworld (the globe’s biggest watch trade show) in basel, …
fine italian food, conversation, and prizes were enjoyed by many at a recently held jewelry-industry networking event that took place in downtown philadelphia. the evening was organized by the pennsylvania chapter of the women’s jewelry association. jewelry designer renee hamilton, newark, del., was the lucky winner of two prizes, a jewelry box from wolf designs and a bottle of wine.
the world of trade publishing turned out to be the perfect training ground and launching pad for trade-show entrepreneur howard hauben. hauben, 49, is the president and chief operating officer of h2 events, a trade-show consulting firm he launched in 2000, based in merrick, n.y. h2 events manages the centurion tucson show, an invitation-only event geared to luxury retail jewelers it launched in…
marc freeman says his round metallic-luster 10 mm and 11 mm chinese freshwater cultured pearls are 100 percent nacre. there’s no nucleus. and he challenges the gem-identification laboratories that call chinese cultured freshwaters “tissue nucleated” but describe japanese and chinese akoya saltwater bead-nucleated pearls—with less than 10 percent nacre—as “cultured.
will consumer confidence in platinum be shaken? at issue is a new platinum alloy whose platinum content is 585 parts per thousand (ppt). in response to the new alloy, platinum guild international usa in april sent a letter to 400 industry manufacturers and retailers, reiterating its position on maintaining platinum’s purity at present levels and urging widespread participation in a forthcoming …
world trade fair ltd. has announced that the inaugural hong kong january international jewellery & watch show will be held jan. 17–20, 2006, at asiaworld-expo. this event will admit retail and wholesale buyers only. according to show director b.k. chow, “this will be a 100 percent trade-only event in the world’s freest marketplace.
the first u.s. retail store dedicated solely to the work of south african sculptor carrol boyes has opened in manhattan’s soho neighborhood. the new retail store, located at 118 prince st., features two sales floors. it includes boyes’s metalware for home and kitchen, leather selections for home and office, and furniture.
those who declared it “over” a year ago were wrong. when celebrities don turquoise, summer must be nearly here. along with enough seasonal appeal to silence a million fashion editors, turquoise has another thing going for it—ralph lauren’s runways and advertisements, both of which continue to enjoy a love affair with the gem.
the jewelry and watch division of the national conference for community and justice honored robert wueste, chairman and chief executive officer of samuel aron international, with its humanitarian award during its 54th annual dinner, held on dec. 6, 2004, at new york’s pierre hotel. aron suna, president of suna bros.
diamonds may not be a guy’s best friend, but they certainly add elegance and status to his watch, as more men and watch retailers are learning. indeed, one of the hottest niches in today’s u.s. watch market is men’s diamond watches—from moderate- to luxury-price ones—and it’s getting hotter, say industry insiders and experts interviewed by jck.
similar to setting a pear-shape stone, the marquise also combines two different kinds of prongs and procedures. the fragile tips of pear and marquise stones are commonly set in large “v” prongs, and the sides are held in round prongs. the techniques are not difficult, when analyzed step by step. author and educator alan revere explains the details of setting a marquise.
since may 2002, caroline stanley has run her own company, red jewel inc., a firm in redondo beach, calif., that provides marketing, communications, and consulting to the industry. her client list includes the centurion show and the jewelers vigilance committee, as well as trade organizations, law firms, international consulting companies and designers, retailers, and manufacturers.
IJDG Selects New Members. The International Jewelry Design Guild has named five new members to its group of independent jewelry designers. Stacy Blackshaw, associate executive director of the Guild, announced the induction of Jewelbutton, Tagliamonte Vicenza, Dana & David, Spoleto Gioielli, and Yael Sonia. World Gold Council Pumps Up Glam Factor. Grammy Award winner Alicia…
the london-based argentium silver co. has partnered with stern-leach, a manufacturer of silver alloy and fabricated silver, to make argentium sterling silver available to silversmiths, designers, and retailers. argentium sterling silver does not need to be polished for two years and is set to replace up to 50% of the total worldwide silver market, the company says.
henry—known as harry—george murphy was born in kent, england, in 1884, and from a young age he showed an interest in and a talent for the creative arts. in their book arts & crafts to art deco: the jewellery and silver of h.g. murphy (antique collector’s club, 2005), authors paul atterbury and john benjamin relate a crucial moment in young harry’s life: one day, at the age of …
a gemology practical certificate will now be issued to all students who pass the practical section of the gemmological association and gem testing laboratory of great britain’s diploma exam. this new proof of high-level practical gemological skills will be back-dated to make the certificate available to all who have passed the diploma-level practical exam since it was revised in january 2002.
Steven Cohen, formerly president of the Movado Group’s Canadian division, was named president of Ebel Americas in March. He replaces Randi Shinske, who resigned earlier this year as president of the luxury-watch brand’s U.S. operations. He will oversee Ebel sales in North America and the Caribbean and report directly to Thomas van der Kallen, president…
fischer diamonds inc. has launched a marketing and advertising campaign called “it’s all about you,” which promotes the company to retailers as the foremost manufacturer and importer of loose diamonds without a brand name attached. according to the company, its new campaign incorporates a minimalist creative advertising package that targets retailers interested in branding the name of their st…
the dtc has revamped its right-hand-ring campaign—with ads that have a softer tone and, possibly, a broader range of designs than its initial launch. when the campaign kicked off in september 2003, many disliked the designs that resulted from the dtc specifications (negative space and a north-south orientation).
henry grossbard had been cutting diamonds for thirty years when he made the discovery that turned him into a legend. and he did it, primarily, to stand out from the crowd. “i always wanted to have my own special edge or niche,” he said. “i never wanted to do what everyone else did. i wanted to do something different.