June 2007

Blue Nile Blues

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Hale’s Jewelers

hale’s jewelers has been serving the greenville, s.c., market for 150 years and is among the five oldest retailers to be inducted into jewelers of america’s ja 100 club. the club honors jewelry stores that have been in continuous operation for a century or longer and have provided their communities with knowledgeable, professional service.

Retailers Still High on Watches

are watches passé? that’s what many news and blog reports worldwide claimed in recent months, citing widespread use by young people of cell phones and ipods, which have time displays. in march, jck reported on watch industry leaders’ reaction to that. now we turn to those who actually sell timepieces and deal with the watch-buying public to find out what they think.

Metal for Motorheads

frederick goldman inc., new york, is launching a collection of men’s and women’s nascar-themed jewelry featuring the top circuit racers. nascar (the national association for stock car auto racing) is america’s second-most-watched sport after football. designed in-house by the goldman team, the collections were inspired by materials taken straight from the races.

Diamonds Worth an Estimated $28 Million Stolen in Antwerp

a man stole an estimated $28 million worth of diamonds from an abn-amro bank in antwerp, belgium. police believe the man carefully planned the robbery, reports say, charming bank employees and becoming one of few customers to get access to the ultra-secure bank area. the man gave the name carlos hector flomenbaum from argentina—likely a false identity, since a passport with that name wa…

Using ‘Carrots’ To Recognize Staff

in the carrot principle, the latest book in the best-selling “carrot” series, coauthors adrian gostick and chester elton show managers and senior executives how to use recognition to elevate a team’s performance. gostick discussed with jck how jewelers can develop their own “carrot principle” to gain a competitive edge in the marketplace.

Web Site Promises Firsthand Info

watchepedia.com, a web site for watch companies and watch lovers to “share their passion for watches,” was launched in march by hr:watches’ former publisher, joe urich, and its former editor, natalie campisi. its purpose, they say, is to establish “straight-from-the-source information” online for the watch community and give people around the world access to the lates…

Franck Muller Acquires Martin Braun

the franck muller group, the swiss luxury watch mini-conglomerate, has acquired majority control of the german luxury watch brand martin braun, purchasing 52 percent. the transaction, capping three months of negotiations, was confirmed to jck by miguel payró, the group’s chief financial officer.

Tool Days

from basic tweezers to high-tech electronics, the instruments you use in the store demonstrate your professionalism. they can also help you sell more gemstones. following is a review of the most common tools and how to use them to sell. color wheel begin by determining what gemstone your client is interested in seeing.

The Wolf at the Door

each june, this column looks back over the previous 12 months to see where the jewelry industry has been and tries to figure out where it’s headed. last year’s page summarized the 12 months between june 2005 and june 2006 as “interesting” times, and it’s safe to say that remains an accurate description.

The State of JCK

here at jck, early may is in some ways the end of a year. the jck show ~ las vegas is now just weeks away, and we’ve completed another cycle of publishing. as we wind down production of our many publications in the months of may and june—jck, jckstyle, and jck luxury along with our jck show guide, show navigator, pocket planner, and show dailies—it’s a good time to reflect on the …

Pearls Gone Wild!

if it’s friday in tucson, it’s time for our annual pearl walk. we take to the floor of the american gem trade association gemfair with a team of pearl experts and visit several pearl exhibitors, gathering information and listening to opinions. pearl expert lois berger, fuller & associates, mclean, va.

Briolettes Add Dimension to Design

for centuries, diamond briolettes and faceted diamond beads were used in some of the world’s most famous jewelry. some historians believe the briolette cut originated in india. the crown jewels of iran include numerous briolettes. briolettes were part of the tiara worn by the grand duchess xenia alexandrovna of russia at her 1894 wedding to the grand duke alexander mihailovich of russia.

Diamond Jewelry Market Grew 6% in 2006, JWT Says

despite the hype over blood diamond, the u.s. diamond jewelry market grew again last year, jwt, de beers’ u.s. marketing agency, reported recently. overall retail sales of diamond jewelry increased by 6.1 percent in 2006, to $35.2 billion, a $2 billion increase over 2005’s $33.2 billion. the growth was largely fueled by a 9.

Rules for Stock Balancing

to strike a balance between traditional merchandise and trendy fashion pieces or designer lines, jewelers should consider these guidelines: make smart choices in supplier/buyer contracts, understand your customers, and don’t be afraid to rely on your gut. a retailer’s sales history provides the best indication of the ideal balance of traditional and fashion jewelry, explains david n…

The Cover

while debating what to put on the cover of jck’s 2007 diamond issue, we got a call from tom heyman, of oscar heyman bros., who had a multifunctional necklace with a 17.00 ct. emerald-cut diamond as its center. the piece breaks apart into at least seven combinations of wearable jewels, and tom wantedto know if we’d consider putting it on our cover.

Gem Pricing Report

dealers report mixed sales this spring. the midwest has been quiet, while the coasts have seen improvement. cuprian tourmaline from mozambique is in wide demand, with strong sales in most qualities. the price structure has yet to level, although prices have softened slightly. supply of the greenish blue material is good, and large stones are available.

Speaking Out

jewelry designer erica courtney knows about good looks. she’s based in hollywood, works with stylists, and keeps her store interiors current and fashionable. she also has her own personal dress designer, makeup artist, and hair stylist to help her remain a looker. courtney recently chatted with jck about not letting your store’s looks go—out of complacency or the dreaded tightwad disease.

M. Fabrikant to Auction Assets

m fabrikant & sons inc. has asked a judge for permission to auction its assets, the associated press reported recently. under the plan, m. fabrikant would sell all of its assets, including inventory, accounts, and intellectual property and then file a liquidation plan, ap said. m. fabrikant has been under chapter 11 bankruptcy protection since november.

What’s Your Value Proposition?

here’s a little management test: have all your employees write a two- or three-sentence answer to the question, what is our value proposition? you’ll probably get almost as many different answers as you have employees. while this is neither good nor bad, it demonstrates how little thought (or consensus) stores have in this area of their business.

Tanzanite Reports to Include ‘Four Cs’

the international gemological institute will help launch the tanzanite foundation’s tanzanite grading report, two years after the foundation introduced its quality-grading scale. the tanzanite foundation was created by tanzaniteone, the mining company responsible for the largest portion of the merelani hills tanzanite deposit in tanzania.

Get the Best People On Board

in his book good to great jim collins identifies a series of attributes that distinguish good companies that become great from those that do not. foremost among these is “getting the right people on the bus in the right seats.” and no group of employees is more important to your success than your sales associates, who not only drive revenue but also represent your brand every day.

Basel to Expand

the world’s largest watch and jewelry show is going to get even bigger. rene kamm, chief executive officer of mch swiss exhibition, the parent firm of baselworld, announced a $287 million expansion project at the show this past april. for a number of years the show’s management has divided it into clearly defined segments (watch halls, jewelry halls, equipment) and put exhibitors in the halls …

Ashford.com to Be Resurrected

luxi group, a private holding company in new york focused on the luxury goods market, has acquired certain assets related to ashford.com from odimo for $400,000. luxi group said in a statement that it will relaunch ashford.com with a large selection of designer and brand name watches and other luxury products.

As Seen on TV

the jewelry industry is capitalizing on the trend of reality television and its high ratings by positioning pieces on as many shows as possible. here’s a recap of recent placements on dancing with the stars.

Newswire

antonio calce has been appointed general manager of luxury watch brand corum s.a. he had been vice president of operations since september 2005. previously calce was with the richemont group, where he developed panerai’s product range after its acquisition by richemont in 1997, directed development of the panerai and piaget brands, and set up the panerai manufacturing facility.

Indian Jewelry Brand to Open Stores in the U.S.

india’s largest jewelry brand, tanishq, plans to open stores in the united states. the company’s bhuwan gaurav confirmed published reports that the company, which is not a sightholder, will open stores, beginning in new jersey and chicago. while reports said the company planned a 10-store chain, gaurav said it could be “more than that.

Boston Jeweler and Archdiocese Make History

boston-based seán patrick cardinal o’malley and long’s jewelers teamed up to make rings of historical significance. two 18k gold rings are replicas of fumie, which are japanese medallions featuring the image of christ. fumie date back to 17th-century japan when catholics were being persecuted; those suspected were ordered to step on a fumie, with the notion that a true catholic would consi…

The DTC’s New New Direction

seven years ago de beers unveiled what is now called supplier of choice 1, and its executives heralded the birth of a new diamond industry. they talked about how a handful of brands would dominate each market. at a 2003 conference in antwerp, belgium, diamond trading company executive stephen lussier said the industry had “begun a marketing revolution—and that revolution is irrevers…

Longines Marks 175th Anniversary With New Book, Museum Expansion

longines is commemorating 175 years by enlarging its museum in its hometown of saint-imier, switzerland, and publishing a work on the socioeconomic development of its birthplace. the luxury watch brand kicked off its celebration in march when the swatch group subsidiary inaugurated two new rooms in its museum.

A Free Ride?

it seems to me that internet sellers of jewelry are getting a free ride. far be it from me to advocate additional taxes on anyone or any business. if memory serves me correctly, it’s about the first of may when we all start working for ourselves instead of the federal and state governments. that’s the date our income tax obligations are fulfilled for the current year.

Industry Financing Could Change With ABN Merger

british bank barclays has agreed to buy dutch bank abn amro, a leading bank for the diamond and jewelry industry, for about 67 billion euros ($91 billion) in what analysts are calling one of the largest bank mergers ever. according to estimates, abn holds an estimated one-fourth of the diamond industry’s financing portfolio and also lends to many jewelry companies.

The Ametrine Supply Mystery Might Be Solved

rumors of a possible civil war in bolivia—the source of the world’s supply of natural-color ametrine—have been blamed for the shortage of that gemstone. but news organizations have been speculating about a bolivian civil war for several years, yet, so far, no war. “our country, once again, is going through an apparent major change,” says ramiro rivero, owner of minera…

Tucson 2007

every february, tucson, ariz., plays host to the largest assemblage of gem merchants for 30-plus simultaneously running gem and mineral shows. it’s a wonderful opportunity for you and your staff not only to buy gems but also to window-shop, touch, learn, and enjoy the jewels that make our business fun and exciting.

Thais to Disclose Beryllium Treatment

the thai gem and jewelry traders association and the japan jewelers association have signed a memorandum of understanding on disclosure procedures for beryllium-treated corundum. they announced the agreement at the cibjo congress in cape town, south africa, on march 14. it comes five years after undisclosed beryllium-treated sapphires, treated in thai laboratories, were sold to japanese gems…

Dubai Dispatch

dubai, the city of gold—its name resonates with the precious metal. though affluent arabs increasingly favor diamonds, gold hasn’t lost its luster yet in the united arab emirates whose citizens show a great penchant for it. according to the world gold council’s dubai office, gold sales in the first quarter of 2006 increased to 2.

Color Controversy

if this year’s gem extravaganza in tucson ariz., this past february—33 gem shows in 38 venues—could be symbolized by a single stone, it would be the mozambique paraíba. with colors ranging from bright minty green to intense robin’s egg blue, with a few teals and lavenders thrown in, the mozambique paraíbas were a hit, much to the chagrin of those who still had some (but no…

Zwick: The Industry Needs to Do More

it took jck many months to land an interview with blood diamond director edward zwick (glory, the last samurai), and by the time we reached him in mid-march, he said he felt talked out about the subject and worried he was repeating himself. zwick also stressed—several times—that his fullest thoughts on the diamond industry could be gleaned from his speech at the rapaport diamond con…

Emerald Crack-Up

emerald-enhancement laboratories in colombia and brazil have devised a way to increase rough-to-polished weight retention of emeralds by as much as 50 percent—but the practice may ultimately compromise the stones. the labs accomplish the feat by using so-called “perma” fillers—accepted enhancements for finished emeralds, as long as they’re disclosed—on rough emeral…

Dateline: Gdansk

the amberif trade fair shines an international light on baltic amber and the polish companies that turn this prehistoric tree resin into fashionable and artistic jewelry. anyone who thinks amber jewelry is limited by traditional designs and worn largely by older women would have left those thoughts behind within minutes of attending amberif, the international fair of amber jewellery and gemstones.

Mad About Madagascar

while most everyone is sticking with the traditional kashmir, ceylon, brazil, and burma monikers for colored gems, the gübelin jewelry firm in lucerne, switzerland, wants to capture the mystique of the spice island madagascar, famous for its cloves, vanilla, cinnamon, and pepper as well as coffee and cocoa.

Blue Nile Blues

ijewelry.com? dead. firstjewelry.com? dead as well. miadora, adornis—so many online jewelry retailers are but a memory. and for a moment, it seemed that blue nile was destined for the same dot-com dustbin. but today, the seattle-based e-tailer hasn’t merely survived, it’s thrived. in 2006 it racked up $250 million in sales and could hit between $290 and $300 million in 2007.

Parker Joins the Synthetic World

joan parker, a 30-year veteran and well-known figure in the diamond industry, has joined gemesis, the sarasota, fla., manufacturer of synthetic diamonds. her role is to serve as an ambassador and advisor to help the company raise its profile and position itself as the premier supplier of man-made diamond products.

Oppenheimer: We Must Help Alluvial Diggers

alluvial diamond diggers have to be brought into the “formal diamond industry,” de beers chairman nicky oppenheimer said at the recent meeting of cibjo, the world jewellery confederation. “millions of people in central and west africa and in parts of south america are engaged in small-scale digging, often in unacceptable circumstances of poverty, at risk to their lives and sub…

Diamond Reality Check

we are several months into 2007, and i wonder if retailers have learned much from 2006. it was a rocky year for many—except internet retailers. they seem to have flourished and continue to see double-digit growth. granted, this is a period in which internet retailers are picking low-hanging fruit.

Supplier News

Avery Dennison Introduces Environmental Paper Stock Avery Dennison has introduced a fanned-deck portfolio called the Avery Dennison RIS Environmental Stock Offering, which consists of 45 coated and uncoated stock samples in different textures and finishes from paper manufacturers worldwide, including India. The samples indicate whether the stocks are Recycled, Green Seal Certified, Chlorine-Free Certified, and/or…

Swiss Watch Federation Wants Tougher Criteria for ‘Swiss Made’

the federation of the swiss watch industry fh wants to strengthen the criteria that govern use of the claim “swiss made” on watches. it will offer a proposal for its members’ vote at its general meeting june 28 in biel, says a march announcement. if approved, it will be sent to switzerland’s federal council.

O’Ferrall Retires From De Beers

rory more o’ferrall recently retired as de beers’ director of external affairs, after 36 years with the company. o’ferrall followed what used to be the traditional path to the de beers executive suite. after serving as a captain in the british army, he joined what was then called the central selling organisation and spent five years in de beers’ outside buying offices in west africa.

The Key to Patent Lawsuits

almost all litigation involving the jewelry industry and patents, copyrights, or trademarks is conducted in the united states federal district courts. the federal courts retain exclusive jurisdiction for patents and copyrights and share jurisdiction for trademarks with state courts. much of the federal practice is conducted by very large firms, which can quickly generate huge fees once a lawsui…

Dateline: Munich

the annual fair is creating a niche for itself as a must-go venue for jewelers who focus on cutting-edge designer goods or want unusual twists on traditional styles. it’s also a lot of fun for techies. inhorgenta europe 2007, held feb. 23–26 at the new munich trade fair centre in munich, germany, featured 1,183 exhibitors from 44 countries, including purveyors of finished jewelry, equipme…

GCAL Now Offers ‘Zero Tolerance’ Certifications

the gem certification assurance & lab is now offering a “zero tolerance” guarantee on its diamond grading reports—meaning if its graders don’t deliver the same opinion twice, it will refund the difference to consumers. originally gcal had offered a one-grade guarantee—which caused skepticism, since experts noted it is very rare for a lab to be more than one grade …

‘Stick to Core Values,’ AGS Attendees Urged

businesses face more challenges today but can overcome them by reacting smartly while sticking to their core values, management guru jim collins told american gem society attendees in the keynote address for the group’s recent conclave in denver. the session was sponsored by jewelers’ mutual insurance, neenah, wis.

Accolades

the grand prize winner of the 2007 american jewelry design council new talent contest is nicole landaw [pictured], nicole landaw jewelry, new york. she was selected based on the originality, craftsmanship, innovation, marketability, and cohesiveness of her jewelry design. shown is a pair of her vine earrings.

AJA Raises Funds With Jewelry Runway Show

armenian jewelers association, a charitable organization composed of leading armenian-american jewelry designers, raised more than $100,000 for their various charitable causes with their first-ever jewelry runway show, held march 11 at the biltmore hotel in los angeles. the fashion show featured jewelry from 10 armenian designers including giantto designer jewelry, haytayan jewelers inc.

Appointments

Bryan Aderhold, G.G., R.S., has been promoted to executive vice president of Eternity Natural Emeralds, responsible for the management of day-to-day operations and client and partner relations. The company also has appointed Ish-Paul Peres vice president of marketing. During a 33-year career Peres designed marketing campaigns and advertising material for dozens of major jewelry concerns…