June 2011

To Market, to Market

JCK Magazine is the essential source for the jewelry industry!

Subscribe today and save 52% off the cover price! Subscribe now

Retailers, contact us for your free subscription
(subject to approval)

Contact Us

Fancy That

Your eyes do not deceive you: These Harry Winston diamond drops feature one fancy intense blue and one fancy intense yellowish orange ­diamond. And they are not as rare as you might think. This is the fourth magnificently mismatched set of ear pendants Christie’s has sold in the past three years; one pair fetched nearly…

Practical Stone Setting

Part 24: Setting Square Stones In Channels NOTE: The procedures in this article are standard practices for bench jewelers at this time. If not executed properly, however, they can cause harm. Neither the author nor the publisher is responsible for injuries, losses, or damage that may result from the use or misuse of this information.…

Tech: CounterSketch, 3Design & More

Next-Gen Sketching Upgrades to software packages rarely represent a dramatic departure from earlier versions. That’s not the case with CounterSketch Studio 2.0, the custom jewelry software from Gemvision and Stuller. The new version is brimming with extra features, starting with more than 2,000 ring styles as part of the software’s Starting Point Inventory, which now…

Pearls: Galatea Feels the Bead, Yvel Goes for the Gold

Queen Beads Inventor/designer Chi Huynh—head of Galatea in San Dimas, Calif.—could be taking the bead craze to a higher level with his Queen Bead Collection, a line of 12 mm carved Tahitian, white freshwater, or peach freshwater pearls with sterling silver cores that launches at JCK Las Vegas. Positioned as add-on beads for entry-level shoppers,…

Watches: Vacheron’s New World Time Model, Madison Avenue Watch Week

Wrinkles in Time For jet-setters with a penchant for mechanical watches, a world time model epitomizes stylish sophistication. Not only does the wristwatch simultaneously display the time in the 24 time zones established by the 1884 International Meridian Conference in Washington, D.C., it does so in a manner that gives even armchair travelers a distinct…

Colored Stones: Hemmerle’s Veggie Tales; A Price Above Spinel

Eat Your Heart Out Three years ago, Christian Hemmerle, the fourth-generation member of Munich’s prestigious Hemmerle family—known among global connoisseurs for its luxurious yet unconventional jewels—stumbled upon a magazine article about salads. “They were really beautiful,” he says. The story, and the lush photos that accompanied it, reminded Hemmerle of a series of mushroom brooches…

Bridal: Something Old from Katerina Maxine, Something New From Ostbye and Vanna K

An American ­Tradition Not only is June a traditional month for weddings, it’s also, by industry convention, the time when bridal jewelry manufacturers debut their new lines. Keep an eye out for these new styles in Las Vegas. Celebrate Good Times! Ostbye’s 8-year-old bridal jewelry collection, Celebration, is getting a timely update this year. Fifty…

Silver: MadStone, American Estate

Mad Inspirations New York City–based MadStone launched this year with several fine jewelry collections new for Spring 2011. All are inspired by “the nether­world,” according to designer and former fashion publicist Kerri Halpern. One look at three of her current lines—MadSkulls, MadAnimals, and Random—makes clear that Halpern favors a dark aesthetic. For buyers seeking something…

Platinum: PGI’s Innovation, Richard Krementz’s Tourmaline Creation

Platinum Pioneers Say what you will about the mad metals market—there’s no denying that it’s forced manufacturers to experiment. Exhibit A: the second annual Platinum Innovation Awards, which drew a whopping 143 percent increase in entries this year, for a total of 200, according to sponsor Platinum Guild International USA. Retailers attending JCK Las Vegas…

Gold: Carelle Pays Tribute to Brooke Tivol McGrath

In Remembrance When Brooke Tivol McGrath died of a rare blood infection in January 2011, the jewelry trade lost one of its most promising young talents. The 28-year-old—a marketing director at Carelle in New York City for four years—was a fourth-generation retailer through her family’s Tivol jewelry stores in Missouri and Kansas.   Brooke routinely…

Gem Pricing Report: Going Steady

Just don’t count on prices being stable for long The gem business in the United States is thriving. Demand grew in April, and the momentum behind sales carried into early May. Dealers are optimistic heading into the JCK Las Vegas show—a critical midyear predictor of retail jewelry purchasing strength. Currently, the U.S., like key markets…

From Mine to Store: Chopard’s Proud Peacock

Chopard first ventured into the Animal World in 2010 in honor of its 150th anniversary, creating 150 creature-themed pieces, including a cheeky monkey pendant, a princely frog ring, antelope-horn earrings, and a goggle-eyed owl watch. But the Swiss jeweler found it simply couldn’t stop there. This diamond and gemstone Peacock ­bracelet (price on request)—designed by…

LUXURY Prive? Takes Manhattan

New July show adds a high-end spark to New York market week If the shows that converge in Las Vegas every June are the equivalent of a grand performance for the jewelry trade, the encore takes place in late July, when buyers and sellers reunite in New York City for a second market week, highlighted…

Time for Swiss Watch at JCK

The prestige watch selection in Vegas rivals that of the big show in Switzerland Move over, Baselworld. There’s another watch fair on the luxury calendar—and we don’t mean Geneva’s Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie. For eight years, JCK Events has ­partnered with Kaiser Time on Swiss Watch at JCK, a five-day, by-appointment-only fair that…

JCK 5: Design Center Rising Stars

Catch this quintet while you can at the JCK show Design Center. (Above) 1. Swing Series ring in 18k gold with 17 ct. amethyst and 0.10 ct. t.w. diamonds; $3,480; Elena Kriegner, New York City; 212-643-0060; elenakriegner.com   2. Sterling ring with 0.75 ct. t.w. diamonds; $1,800; Walt Adler, New York City; 504-383-5004; waltadler.com 3.…

The ABCs of HPHT

The high-tech process has the power to transform the least valuable colored diamonds into the most valuable. That may explain why, after 12 years, it still makes the market uneasy. Twelve years ago this summer, the HPHT (high pressure/high temperature) process was introduced to the diamond industry, sparking what GIA then-president William E. Boyajian called…

Get Real (Estate)

Renegotiating retail rents was never easy, even during the recession. As the economy improves, the time to talk landlords down is ticking. Over the past two years, a number of businesses have benefitted from the recession-induced real estate slump by capitalizing on falling rents. But for jewelers—especially those located in high-end retail spaces—those opportunities have…

Playing the Precious Metal-Pricing Game

Are gold and silver a runaway train? Perhaps. But moody investors, speculative skulduggery, and the vagaries of politics—not to mention mining—could always derail the ride. The price of gold went through the proverbial roof some time ago. Now, silver is playing catch-up. Any retailer with an Internet connection and a stake in the fine ­jewelry…

Designing Men

Three retailers who’ve thrown their minds, hearts, and souls into the custom business share their compelling stories. Custom jewelry design has attracted plenty of industry buzz over the past few years, reflecting the strength of the niche. So varied is the category that the current retail landscape includes stores that are, essentially, virtual—because they carry…

Shop Till You Drop

Still working on your shopping list? Here’s how jewelers across the country are planning to fill their cases while they’re in Vegas. Finding new resources and ­scouting trends are top objectives for ­jewelers headed to JCK Las Vegas this month, but one issue is overshadowing the rest: the skyrocketing prices of gold, silver, and ­diamonds.…

The Lap of LUXURY (at JCK)

To make the most of its new home at Mandalay Bay, the LUXURY at JCK show expands to seven full days LUXURY at JCK, a sister event to the main JCK show taking place in Las Vegas this month, has long been distinguished by its intimacy and roster of high-end vendors. But for years, buyers…

To Market, to Market

After two decades at the sands, the JCK show has moved to a sunnier spot on the ­southern end of the strip. Herewith, five ­“itineraries” to help you survive—and thrive—during the ­industry’s biggest week of the year. Inside Info From May 31 to June 7, the Mandalay Bay Events Center hosts a confluence of jewelry…

Carol Channing’s Head Trip

It’s only fitting that the first woman to sing “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” should get to model one of the world’s most coveted headpieces. “I could never wear any old jewelry,” says actress Carol Channing of the Westminster Tiara, which sat atop her trademark blonde bob for the Plaza Hotel’s Hearts and Diamonds…

JCK Asks…Todd Reed

The designer who loves diamonds in the buff Todd Reed is having an affair…an 18-year “love affair with raw diamonds in all their magnificent shapes and colors,” as he puts it. And it only seems to be getting more intense. “I am always wanting to use the rough diamonds I have collected over the years,”…

Innovative Retailer: Charleston Alexander Diamond Importers’ John Sabet

This D.C. diamond guru is proof that video didn’t kill all the radio stars Before John Sabet could sell to political power brokers in D.C., he knew he had to get to know the industry’s diamond brokers, so he set off to get a diamond education that would position Charleston Alexander Diamond Importers as the…

What Goes Up…

…may not come down, if diamond prices follow demand in the Far East For some months now, the diamond market has been moving at rocket speed, mostly in indeterminate directions. Most insiders will agree on one thing: uncertainty, the very thing all markets hate. As much as that was the case before the unrest in…

It’s All Relative: Lee Read Jewelers

Larry Read didn’t give his daughters the family business; he made them work for it Growing up in West Salem, Ohio, Lee Read liked to stand in front of his local jewelry store’s window and observe the watchmaker at work. Little did he know he was planting the seeds for a family dynasty. In 1963,…

Culture Club

Team spirit prevails at Rio Grande, long an incubator for innovative styles of management In the jewelry trade, few companies boast the reach of Rio Grande, a manufacturer of findings, tools, packaging, supplies, and equipment based in Albuquerque, N.M. The company’s clients are scattered around the globe and include bench jewelers, small-scale designers working in…

Is a website necessary if you have a robust Facebook presence?

“People go to your Facebook page—not your website—to see what’s going on.” Shane O’Neill, director of social marketing and design Fruchtman Marketing Toledo, Ohio Money Matters: Small to medium-size retailers might consider making Facebook their main online presence as a money-saving initiative. If all their site does is serve their local market by essentially having…

Marketing on the Move

Q: “Are mobile websites part of your Internet marketing strategy?”—Donald Smith, owner, E.M. Smith Jewelers, Chillicothe, Ohio “It’s always important to stay innovative in order to relate to current times and customers. I’m part of the third generation of the family, and I’m in our target demographic. It helps to see what people my age…

Your Market Week Social Media Strategy

How to bring your customers to Vegas without spending a dime While we talk about tools and tactics for optimizing our social media presence, we often overlook opportunities to collect and create content that will captivate our customers. There are several times during the year when you can share engaging information, but none are more…

Database Camp

You have to keep up contact to keep your customers Did you know attracting new prospects to your store is more than six times as expensive as catering to existing ones? Or that more than 66 percent of customers opt out of shopping at a store because they feel “neglected”??If you make keeping contact with…

JCK 5: Whatcha Doing This Summer?

1. “In July we’re doing our first annual store golf tournament.” —Craig Husar, Chief Romance Officer, Lyle Husar Designs, Brookfield, Wis.  2. “We began migrating our old-media advertising to new-media platforms. Over the summer we’ll get more aggressive about it.” —Rex Mudd, owner, Marci Jewelry, Bellevue, Wash. 3. “My goal is to double the rings…

What’s Your Frequency? How RFID Is Revolutionizing Inventory Management

Once upon a time, inventory management in the jewelry trade was a low-tech, time-consuming affair. Retailers would walk the floor, taking notes of the product numbers of jewelry displayed in cases and stored in vaults. They’d then check that list against original inventory take-in records. If there was a discrepancy, the retailer needed to “reconcile”…

Retail Details: Morgan Jewelers’ Owner/Delivery Guy Nate Morgan

A customer in need is Nate Morgan’s customer, indeed 1. Can you describe your most memorable sale?Last year, close to Valentine’s Day, a customer called to let me know that someone broke into his car and stole all of the Valentine’s Day gifts he bought for his girlfriend, including a diamond necklace he purchased from…

JCK Asks…Ivanka Trump

The model-turned-CEO shows us the meaning of Trump power There’s no better advertisement for her fine jewelry collection than Ivanka Trump herself. Wherever she goes, chances are she’s sporting one of her tradition-rocking diamond and crystal creations. When she married New York Observer publisher Jared Kushner in October 2009, she accessorized her Vera Wang gown…

Industry & People

COMINGS AND GOINGS >> Stuller promoted Stanley Zale to merchandise vice president of diamonds and gemstones. He was previously VP of only the diamond unit. >> Citizen Watch Company of America hired Scott Wolfe as senior vice president of merchandising for the Citizen Watch Company of America. Wolfe will be responsible for product development, merchandising,…

Richline Buys Canada’s Finecraft

Richline announced March 29 that it has purchased Toronto’s Finecraft ­Jewellery. It is the Berkshire Hathaway–owned company’s first Canadian acquisition. Alan Gozlan, son of Finecraft founder Roger Gozlan, will manage the business and continue to service Finecraft customers. The company will retain its Toronto distribution center and entire staff, according to a Richline statement. Richline…

Hofmeister’s Goes Chapter 11

Hofmeister’s Personal Jewelers, a well-regarded 30-year-old Indianapolis store, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on April 13. Total assets are listed as $3,799,695.82, and liabilities as $5,483,013.75. Leading secured-trade creditors include Hearts On Fire, Le Vian Corp., and the Movado Group. Owner Carter Hofmeister tells JCK that his store “will work through this” and expects to…

Alba: Piaget’s New Possession

On the eve of her 30th birthday in late April, actress Jessica Alba, wearing a neon-yellow tunic and a medley of white, rose, and yellow gold circle pendants from Piaget’s revamped Possession collection, admired the view of Los Angeles from a balcony terrace at the Chateau Marmont, a favorite gathering place among denizens of Hollywood.…

Stuller CEO: Future Looks Bright

On March 28, Stuller announced that chief operating officer Jay Jackson had been named the Lafayette, La.­–based manufacturer’s president and CEO, with founder Matt Stuller assuming the title of chairman. Stuller and Jackson talked to JCK following the announcement. What should we know about Jay Jackson taking over as CEO? Matt Stuller: What I’ve said…

eBay Searches Get Local

Shoppers searching for a product on eBay will now be told whether they can buy that item at local stores, the company announced March 31. The e-commerce giant’s new “local shopping” tab will check a product’s availability and price at nearby brick-and-mortar retailers. The results are powered by local search engine Milo, which eBay purchased…

Former Fred Leighton Head Pleads Guilty

Former Fred Leighton head Ralph Esmerian pleaded guilty April 15 to three charges of wire fraud, bankruptcy fraud, and concealment of assets, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. The statement says Esmerian financed his 2006 purchase of Fred Leighton with $200 million in loans, secured by…

Connecticut Taxes Gems

Connecticut has instituted the first tax singling out the jewelry industry in more than 15 years. The luxury tax, part of the budget signed by Gov. Dannel Malloy on May 4, adds a 0.65 percent levy to jewelry costing more than $5,000 and watches that cost more than $1,000. That is significantly reduced from the…

Texas Jewelry Dealer Dead After Theft

Arif Sayed of Sayed Wholesale was killed in Huntsville, Texas, after an altercation with thieves. Sayed, 59, and his wife left the International Gem & ­Jewelry show in Houston on April 17 around 6 p.m., according to Kent McClenahan of the Texas Jewelers Security Hotline. They then stopped at a Huntsville McDonalds, and saw a…

AGS Conclave: A San Francisco Treat

Attendance was up 10 percent at the 2011 American Gem Society Conclave, held April 27–30 at the Westin Hotel in San Francisco, and attendees called it the most optimistic Conclave in years. “Everyone was very upbeat,” says executive director Ruth Batson, who added that sponsorships hit a record this year. “I see it as a…

JCK 5: Best Tweets from the #AGSConclave

1. @WilliamSites: Jim Abbott is a triple zero  2. @trchandler: Leave to @DanGordon to wear 80’s garb to a 70’s party. A man ahead of his time. 3. @MSchechter: Off to go see Tony Hsieh from @zappos at #agsconclave. I do not know if more happiness could possibly be delivered right now. 4. @JosephsJewelers: How…

You Really, Really Like Us!

The close of this issue marks the end of my first year back at JCK, and it’s been a great one. It has been a delight to reconnect with all my industry friends and get back into the circuit of annual events and trade shows. And it’s been a true honor to rejoin a brand…

10 Things Rocking the Industry

1. Royals The furor over Kate Middleton’s wedding jewels suggests one of two things about Americans: Either we’re bigger fans of the British monarchy than the Brits themselves, or we like a good knockoff. The diamond acorn–and–oak leaf earrings Middleton wore at her April 29 wedding to Prince ­William—designed by Robinson Pelham, the ­London jeweler…

Unconventional Wisdom

On a recent afternoon in Manhattan, Christian Hemmerle, the fourth-generation member of a family-owned jewelry atelier in Munich, showed me the metallic equivalent of a swatch book: a box of polished rings rendered in 28 different metals. “We start with copper in all its patinas,” he said, before rattling off a list of the other…