June 1, 2006

How Bling Became the Thing

Altobelli Jewelers ‘Robbed’ During Heist

those in the industry who watched the march 22 premiere of the nbc television series heist saw one of hollywood’s most recognizable stores and owners get some significant airtime. heist is the story of a professional thief who assembles an expert team of career criminals to attempt one of the biggest heists in history.

New DTC Director ‘We’re Still Transforming Ourselves’

varda shine looks and sounds different from the standard de beers executive. for starters, she’s a she, and female execs remain something of a rarity at the company. second, she’s israeli, an uncommon nationality in a company whose executives traditionally hail from london or south africa. but since the beginning of the year, shine has been managing director of the diamond trading company, whic…

Hans Clapper

hans g. clapper, 88, chairman of wedding-band manufacturer wright & lato for the past 20 years, died in april. born in austria, clapper entered the jewelry industry in 1959 when he joined imperial pearl syndicate, eventually becoming one of its principals. later, he was named president and chief executive officer of american gemsmiths, which acquired a.

Politi to Head AGS Business Development

the american gem society laboratories recently appointed john a. politi jr. to the position of director, business development. politi will work out of new york’s diamond district. he previously established the american assay and gemological office. he is also a board director for jewelers board of trade.

Spread the Word About Your Web Site

we all know the phrase from field of dreams: “if you build it, they will come.” unfortunately, this does not apply to the internet. you can have a state-of-the-art web site that offers amazing jewelry, but customers won’t know it exists if you don’t tell them. as with a traditional brick-and-mortar business, advertising is essential.

Where Are We?

it’s been an interesting year for the jewelry industry since the last jck show ~ las vegas. last june the industry expected the biggest news of 2005 to be the long-awaited launch of the gia diamond cut grade. but the news of the gia diamond-grading scandal (first reported on jck’s web site last october) overshadowed the cut grade, which did, in fact, finally launch.

Supplier News

Kassoy Installs Hotline on Floor of DDC Kassoy, a supplier of tools and equipment to the jewelry trades, and the New York Diamond Dealer’s Club have announced the installation of a telephone hotline on the floor of the bourse directly to Kassoy’s offices in Hicksville, N.Y., enabling club members to get priority handling of their…

Rio Tinto Launches ‘Customer Recognition’ Mark

rio tinto diamonds, which sells diamonds for the argyle, diavik, and murowa mines, has introduced the select diamantaire mark for its customers to use in their marketing efforts. the use of the mark is entirely free, voluntary, and at the diamantaire’s discretion, rio tinto says. the mark is comparable, says jean-marie lieberherr, general manager of marketing, to the diamond trading company’s …

Doubt on Diamonds

the world diamond council gathered this february in catania, sicily. it looks like a great place to go so i checked it out on the net, and sicily quickly made it on my vacation list. of course, that was not why the wdc was there. that meeting was to discuss the large issues facing the diamond business.

Big Diamonds Found in Africa—and Arkansas

two surprisingly large diamond finds have taken place—one in south africa, and the other closer to home. a yellowish 235 ct. diamond was recently discovered at the schmidtsdrift diamond mine in south africa. the octahedral gem is said to be of “very good” quality. in an interview on south african radio, david lenigas, of mine owner nare diamonds, said it was “the size of…

Enough GIA Attacks

during the past few months the industry has witnessed the unfolding of a genuine tragedy. the allegations of wrongdoing at the gemological institute of america have morphed into a deluge of insider talk. it seems that everyone has a story to tell about what’s going on in new york; carlsbad, calif.; and the grading bribery cases.

Yurman Goes Bridal

well-known jewelry brand david yurman recently launched a bridal collection. ten styles of engagement rings are available, and center stones come in three shapes: round, oval, and the new david yurman signature cut diamond, a cushion. yurman’s signature cable motif is visable in the collection, which is crafted in 18k gold and platinum.

On the Road

jck editors are traveling throughout north america to interview independent jewelers in an occasional series titled “on the road.” the articles will explore the differences and similarities jewelers face managing their businesses in specific regions of the country. our first two stops are the new mexico cities of albuquerque and santa fe.

Jeweler to the Stars to Speak at New York Career Fair

the gemological institute of america has announced that celebrity jeweler and watchmaker jacob arabo of jacob & co. will be a featured guest speaker during the opening session of the institute’s 16th annual jewelry career fair on friday, july 28, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the jacob k. javits convention center in new york city.

Can We Talk … About Jewelry?

joan rivers talked to jck editor-in-chief hedda schupak about fine jewelry, fashion jewelry, and the importance of piling it on. holding a wet dog in her lap, she was wearing, by her own count, “5,000 ropes of pearls, a charm necklace, and three pairs of earrings. thank goodness i have big earlobes! i do aerobics with my gold bracelets on, and my hands are filled with rings.

What Jewelers Should Know

understanding the responsibilities, as well as the costs and the risks involved, is critical for jewelers that accept credit card purchases. when it comes to making jewelry purchases, credit cards are as prevalent—or more so—than cash or checks. they’re convenient for consumers and solve the problem of walking around with a wallet full of cash or worrying that there’s en…


Yonelunas Joins HonoraTom Yonelunas, who resigned last year as chief executive officer of the Gemological Institute of America’s Gem Laboratory, is joining pearl company Honora as chief operating officer. “I’ve known Tom for almost 30 years, and he’s a systems and operational genius,” said Joel Schechter, company CEO. “He’s a perfect fit for us, and…

Gem Pricing

market in brief: june 5, 2006 … a stratified market continues to take shape. retailers report strong sales at price points below $200 and above $4,000, but sales are weak in the critical $1,000–$3,000 range. luxury spending by the middle class has been stymied by higher fuel costs and diminishing expectations for debt management by the administration.

Icing on the Cake

let them eat cake: marketing luxury to the masses—as well as the classes draws on author pamela danziger’s 20 years of experience studying the luxury market. danziger has uncovered new trends in luxury, and she offers retailers and other marketers strategies to capture the luxury customer at any point in the pricing spectrum.

Ripka Makes a Splash During L.A. Fashion Week

what do jewelry, luxury automobiles, and pools have in common? all three were featured at pool jewels, an event invoking a luxurious l.a. lifestyle while promoting designer judith ripka’s new 18k couture collection. mercedes-benz, which named ripka its official jewelry designer of mercedes-benz fashion week at smashbox studios, co-sponsored the event, and their stunning $450,000 slr mclar…

Schupak, Burman Honored by WJA

the women’s jewelry association will induct hedda schupak, editor-in-chief of jck magazine and editorial director of the jck international publishing group, into its prestigious wja hall of fame, at the organization’s dinner in july. in addition, terry burman, group chief executive officer of signet group plc and executive chairman of sterling jewelers, will be honored with the ben …

Vendors, Retailers to Cooperate on Security

a grassroots effort has been launched to combat crime in the jewelry industry by encouraging cooperation between retail jewelers and traveling salespersons. the effort began during the jewelers executive conference, held in april in overland park, kan., when a group of about 20 retailers, vendors, and industry and insurance executives met to create a checklist of basic steps to reduce crime aga…

Report From Inhorgenta 2006

historically, the german jewelry industry has had an emotional connection to the culture of the german people, whose fascination with jewelry as art is well known. for years, sales were fairly predictable in a consistent market, but exhibitors at inhorgenta europe 2006, held feb. 17–20 in munich, say significant economic changes over the past few years have altered domestic consumers&#821…

Clasp Conference Adds New Educational Options

a new educational conference has been announced by rio grande, in collaboration with bench media, ganoksin (parent to the orchid forums), manufacturing jewelers and suppliers of america, and the society of north american goldsmiths. “clasp—a convergence of jewelers” is designed to be a purely educational forum that embraces a broad cross-section of industry members.

How Do I Handle the Internet Shopper?

this month begins a new format for strategies for selling. brad huisken will take questions from readers about specific in-store situations and offer advice on how to handle them. send questions about salesmanship, sales management, customer service, and communications to brad@iastraining.com. there are six critical elements to handle the internet shopper.

Westchester Dealer Pleads Guilty

westchester, n.y., diamond dealer reuven isakov, the man behind concord diamonds and jewelry in white plains, n.y., has pled guilty to grand larceny in the second degree and to a scheme to defraud in the first degree, both felonies, for stealing approximately $1.4 million in diamonds. according to a news release from the westchester district attorney’s office, isakov defrauded 43 di…

Israeli Industry Promotes ‘Brand Identity’

the israeli diamond trade on march 31 premiered a brand identity for itself and a global marketing campaign to promote it. “this is a very high step for our industry,” said efraim raviv, managing director of the israel diamond institute during a press conference at baselworld 2006 in switzerland.

Tourneau Launches Retail Joint Ventures

tourneau, the world’s largest watch retailer, announced two joint ventures at the baselworld fair. first, it’s joining with the swatch group of switzerland, the world’s largest watchmaker, to open a chain of watch stores, also under the tourneau name, in several u.s. luxury outlet malls (including those near new york city; los angeles; las vegas; and orlando, fla.


Luxury diamond manufacturer Daniel K of New York launched its brand in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, amid a week of fanfare and celebration in late March that attracted the attention of leading consumer media there. The brand will be carried in three Damas Les Exclusives stores in the Emirates Towers, Burj al Arab hotel, and…

New Books Offer Insight Into Yesterday’s Icons

two new tomes aim to resurrect a bygone era of elegance by celebrating two of the 20th century’s greatest icons: jackie kennedy onassis and grace kelly. their poise, polish, and class reminded our mothers to wear pearls, write thank-you notes, respect others, and maintain a smart appearance. these books offer their timeless fashion and lifestyle rules—seemingly lost on today’s style icons…

Rocker and Bikers Inspire Jewelers

jck first spotted the rocker trend early this year, when designers started to display precious skull-and-crossbones, handcuff, and tattoo motifs. the idea, however, exploded this spring when a trio of high-profile brands backed up (or inspired) by bikers, rockers, or bad-boy hipsters launched jewelry and watches.

Istanbul Show Posts Strong Attendance

the 22nd international jewellery, silver, watch, and equipment fair, which took place in istanbul, turkey, in march, featured 924 exhibitors and more than 28,581 visitors. of these, 6,072 buyers came from 81 countries, and 649 representatives of both the local turkish press and the international press attended.


Industry leader Al Rahm has been named president of C.D. Peacock, which has five luxury retail stores in metropolitan and suburban Chicago. Rahm has 30 years of experience in the industry and recently served as president of retail for Birks & Mayors. Jewelers Mutual has added Donna Syverson to its staff as director of personal…

TanzaniteOne’s Highlighted 2005 Financial Report

net profit for tanzaniteone, the tanzanite mining company, after tax, was posted at $9.8 million for 2005. this is reportedly a gross margin of 61 percent, on $41.1 million in revenue. basic earning per share of stock was 13.89 cents. operations recovered 1.4 million cts. of tanzanite with significant production increases in the second half of last year.

Curb Counterfeiting Says Trade at Basel

warning “this evil has become too vast to ignore,” jewelry and watch trade groups urged governments to take aggressive action against the rampant counterfeiting of luxury products. “[we need] concerted global action … to cut off the head of this snake,” said jacques j. duchêne, president of the baselworld exhibitors committee, at a press conference at the open…

Geneva’s Luxury Watch Fairs Enjoy Record Sales

about a dozen luxury watch shows, presentations, and exhibitions were held april 3–9 in geneva. a center for fine watchmaking since the 1700s, the city more recently has become an important annual stage for new creations and innovations in swiss haute horlogerie, especially by smaller watchmakers.

Caribbean Green Amber

valerio888, an amber-jewelry manufacturing company in new york, is promoting caribbean amber, a transparent green gem material that the company says is the color of the caribbean sea. it’s found on an undisclosed small caribbean island, close to the dominican republic, where other ambers have been found.

How Bling Became the Thing

it doesn’t have the same marketing muscle behind it as “a diamond is forever” or “past, present, future,” and yet no term has been more closely associated with diamonds in the last few years than “bling-bling.” it’s fascinating—and perhaps telling—that for all the marketing initiatives undertaken in the last few years to spur demand for diamonds, …

AGA Focused on Inclusions

the trend toward the unique is leading many suppliers and retailers to search for untreated ruby, sapphire, and emerald. so it wasn’t a surprise that the annual accredited gemologists association’s tucson conference saw members hunting for inclusions, natural gem identification clues, signs of geologic origin, and remnants of micro-enhancements.

Luxury Goods Rule @ BaselWorld 2006

springtime 2006 in switzerland was unseasonably chilly, with recurring rain and even snow. however, inside the international watch trade fairs held there annually, business was hot, and their halls were as crowded as beaches in summertime. vendors in both basel and geneva—the two hubs of the major shows—reported strong sales, especially in upscale and luxury watch lines, auguring co…

Show and Tell—Better Yet, Show and Prove

to close a deal you need to make recommendations that capture customers’ minds and hearts. that’s the core of “consultative selling”—solving a problem or creating a unique and memorable buying opportunity. a client who knows that a salesperson found merchandise she wouldn’t have found on her own is more likely to return and show loyalty to the salesperson.

The Blue Box Opens in London

the jewelry of tiffany & co. has always been known for quality and originality. from the company’s inception in 1837, tiffany has embraced the new—whether it was a new gemstone, new design, or new designer. an exhibit opening in london on june 24 explores that history. some 180 pieces—many on loan from the tiffany archive and on display for the first time—will be sho…

HRD Gets New Spokesman

david van riel, an external public relations consultant, will be the new spokesman for hrd, the antwerp, belgium, promotional group. he replaces youri steverlynk. hrd recently approved a major overhaul that gives equal weight on its board to big and small companies. it is currently searching for a new managing director, after longtime head peter meeus resigned earlier this year.

After the Storm

throughout new orleans, hopeful signs fill the shop windows: “proud to be here!” “open for business!” and the ubiquitous “help wanted.” but they alternate with “for sale” and “for lease” and boarded-up storefronts. locals shop when they can, but the tourist district is eerily quiet compared with a year ago.

On the Road in Albuquerque

the central new mexico city of albuquerque has a wealth of natural beauty, a moderate climate, and many of the challenges of larger metropolitan regions throughout the united states. at approximately 5,000 feet, it has one of the highest altitudes of any major u.s. city. its population growth is more reflective of recent migration trends than of the area’s indigenous origins.

Lab Update Says Beryllium Sapphires No Accident

adolf peretti of bangkok’s grs gem identification laboratory says his lab has tested several blue sapphires that showed traces of beryllium. grs is one of several laboratories worldwide that have found undisclosed beryllium in blue sapphires and rubies. for those who believe beryllium treatment is found only in pink-orange and yellow sapphires, it’s time to question every piece of corundum you …

Know More About Your Customers

i see a tremendous disconnect between the jewelry industry’s views of consumer preferences and what consumers actually want. among the main findings of mvi’s jewelry consumer opinion council’s research studies: it’s not just christmas. valentine’s day, mother’s day, and father’s day have become important gift-giving occasions.

Belgian Group: Kill Supplier of Choice!

on the heels of the european commission’s decision to eliminate de beers’ dealings with russia, the belgium polished diamond dealers association (bvgd)—a frequent de beers critic—has written to the european commission asking it to “dismantle” de beers’ supplier of choice policy.

Meet the Team

our staff loves to rib me about my occasional (and occasionally bad) use of yiddish. however, i do know the correct word for the way i feel when i look at the picture above: kvell. i’m kvelling because i’m so fortunate to work with this dedicated, creative, hard-working, and bright team. i’m kvelling over the reception our products have gotten in the marketplace.

Want a Luxury Diamond Watch? DIY

“do it yourself” usually refers to home handyman projects—repairing the fence, fixing the sink, shingling the roof—but now it’s also possible for consumers to “do” their watches themselves. and not just any watches, but luxury watches, sporting diamonds, and sold through jewelers.

Tanzanite Takes a Market Position

just as diamonds own the engagement-ring sector, the colored gemstone tanzanite aims to own a market category as well: the birthstone business. launched at this year’s american gem trade association’s tucson gem fair, the tanzanite foundation’s “be born to tanzanite” global marketing campaign wants to position the violet blue gem found only near mount kilimanjaro …

The Rules for Filing IRS Form 8300

new anti-money-laundering (aml) rules for jewelers are reinforcing the need for them to file an irs form 8300 for cash transactions of $10,000 or more. the laws requiring the filing of 8300s have been in effect for many years and are not actually part of the patriot act. still, the patriot act’s aml rules have highlighted them, resulting in a flurry of calls to the jewelers vigilance com…

Student Design Winners Honored at Atlanta Show

guest judge and master goldsmith alan revere presented awards to the winners of the student design competition hosted by the southern jewelry travelers association and the savannah college of art and design at an awards presentation held feb. 26, 2006, during the atlanta jewelry show. the awards were given in four categories: gold and platinum, silver, alternative metals and methods, high t…

PGI Partnership Goes Platinum

following on the success of its new “gone platinum” advertising campaign, platinum guild international this month is unveiling a new retail partnership program—two years in the making—that’s designed to attack the “platinum opportunity gap” head-on. the preferred platinum partner program will be unveiled to the industry at a special breakfast presentati…

SEC Probes Zales

the securities and exchange commission is investigating zale corp., the company announced recently. the sec asked zale for a variety of documents relating to its accounting for extended service agreements, leases, and accrued payroll. “subpoenas issued in connection with the investigation request materials relating to these accounting matters as well as to executive compensation and sev…

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