March 1, 1999

A Growing Taste for Platinum

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BusinessReport

speedy repairs fuel franchise growth “we treat the customer differently. we’re not trying to sell them something when they just came in for a $1 or $2 repair.”– fast-fix franchise owner ben vargas jewelry stores in large shopping malls are used to keen competition from independents, jewelry chain stores, and department store jewelry counters.

Venue and Value: The Wide-Ranging Prices of Sapphires and Emeralds

sapphire and emerald used to be as prized for their supernatural power as they were for their stunning beauty. sapphire was thought to protect kings from harm, cure eye disease, and even banish demons from the soul. the persians believed the earth was balanced on a giant sapphire, whose reflection in turn created the sky.

FashionFacets

bvlgari goes tribal creating a synthesis of the ancient and the modern, the sophisticated and the primitive, fabrizio ferri has photographed a commemorative calendar for bvlgari using images of the company’s silk and cashmere scarf designs painted on the bodies of dancers from the american ballet theatre.

Vicenza Fair Sticks to Proven Sellers

the january edition of vicenzaoro i held little news for those seeking the next big trend. while the exhibiting companies certainly offered pretty, salable new pieces and collections, most of these were designed around proven elements such as white gold, diamond pavé, and bezel-set gemstones. among the visiting american wholesalers and retailers were hanna weiss of h.

A Growing Taste for Platinum

as the millennium turns, there’s hardly a soul who doesn’t immediately recognize the initials “www.” and soon, everyone will know what “pt” means, as well. worldwide demand for platinum jewelry seems to be growing at a rate surpassed only by the demand for internet access.

Supplier News

new company launched in n.y. to celebrate his 20th anniversary in the jewelry industry, chaim nissenbaum has launched a new jewelry manufacturing company, c&k nissenbaum. the company specializes in invisible settings with fancy-cut diamonds in 18k white and yellow gold and platinum. a free catalog is available upon request.

Associations

wja presents 12 scholarships the women?s jewelry association has presented 12 scholarships to help women further their education in the fine jewelry field. the scholarships range from $500 to $2,000 and were awarded on the basis of recommendations, mission statements, and photographic samples of applicants? work.

What’s New – Catalogs

overnight mountings has released ?inspirations,? a 12-page, full-color supplement to its catalog. the supplement contains hundreds of styles never seen before as well as the company?s first line of complete finished jewelry. the program offers machine-set/die-struck diamond wedding bands in .25-ct., .

Calendar

u.s. shows and events march 3-9 ? united jewelry show, providence, r.i. (401) 331-7630, fax (401) 521-7488. 5-7 ? 53rd annual gem and mineral show, hayward, calif. (510) 581-7123. 13-14 ? wisconsin-illinois jewelry expo, madison, wis. (608) 257-3541, fax (608) 257-8755. 20-23 ? columbus gift show, columbus, ohio.

Classes

appraiser program set for new orleans the jewelry insurance appraisal institute will offer a course for jewelers in appraising for insurance purposes april 12-15 in new orleans, coinciding with the american gem society conclave. the certified insurance appraiser (cia) course is the basis of the recently published acord 78 & 79 insurance industry appraisal standards.

Cat & Moiss: Con artists have tricked pawnbrokers by selling them synthetic moissanite as diamond. Jewelers may be next.

leslie e. eckman was instantly suspicious when the well-dressed, unfailingly polite man strolled into her store, ace diamond of boardman, ohio. for one, he was walking – in her town, most people drive. for another, he tried to sell a 1-ct. diamond for $1,500, which is the store’s normal buying price, not the standard price offered to consumers.

UpFront

de beers and trade still split on branding the first formal meeting between representatives of the world diamond industry and de beers on the issue of diamond branding was cordial enough, but it changed no minds. eli haas, chairman of the world federation of diamond bourses/international diamond manufacturers association branding committee, says the diamond industry continues to have “ser…

Editor’s Page

lfrederick@cahners.com getting ready for branding as anyone not living in a cave knows by now, de beers is test-marketing diamonds branded with its logo. the experiment ? at three stores in england ? is going well, as jck has reported. though de beers says it won?t reach a decision until the trial ends later this year, i believe it?s a foregone conclusion what the company will do.

Replacing Diamonds in Antique and Estate Jewelry

when a piece of antique or estate jewelry requires replacement of a missing diamond, you’re generally dealing with rose cuts, old mine cuts, or old european cuts. art nouveau (1890-1915), edwardian (1901-1914), and many art deco (1920-1935) jewelry pieces contain these older diamond cut styles.

WatchWorld

citizen hopes to capitalize on its high-flying eco drive series this spring, citizen introduces 68 new models of eco drive, the battery-less watch that’s sparking consumer interest and energizing sales. launched in 1996, eco drive is already citizen’s best seller, accounting for 20% of sales.

TradeShows

oroarezzo celebrates 20th anniversary oroarezzo, a trade fair in the heart of the gold-producing region of arezzo, italy, marks its 20th anniversary this year. begun as a tiny regional show, it now includes 400 exhibitors of gold, silver, and gemstone jewelry. the 20th-anniversary fair will be held march 20-23.

’NetNews

sotheby?s to launch internet auction site sotheby?s, the world?s oldest international auction house, has joined the growing number of online auctioneers. it is investing some $25 million in a new internet auction business for art, antiques, jewelry, and collectibles. its first major auction, of baseball memorabilia, will be held this summer.

Replacement: A Revenue Engine or a Store Headache?

sometimes jewelry comes to a bad end. it?s stolen, lost, or damaged beyond repair. if the item is covered by insurance, there?s a good chance the person who suffered the loss can be made whole again. there?s also an opportunity for the jeweler who replaces the goods to make a modest profit while simultaneously building a relationship with a new customer.

How to Snag a Prestige Watch Brand

searching for an exclusive watch brand for your store, to no avail? you’re not alone. many retailers are slamming into roadblocks while trying to land the prestige watch lines they covet. upscale watch companies considering new retailers have strict criteria and lofty standards. “we have long-standing relationships with stores we’re comfortable with, so we don’t feel a s…

The Tale of Zale: A 75-Year Retrospective

the zale saga is a classic american success story, born in old world persecution and nurtured by new world opportunities. it begins in the early 1900s, when an orthodox jewish family – samuel zalefshy; his wife, libby; and their young sons, morris and william – fled czarist russia’s violent pogroms for america, settling in texas.

CounterPoint

jewelry marketing 101 with all the discussion about branding, it’s worth considering how jewelry is marketed. a key question is: who should make the investment in developing a brand? is it the manufacturer – as is the case with virtually every other consumer product – or the retailer? what makes this industry unique is the nature of the products.

Retailer News

marks bros. changes name marks bros. jewelers inc., one of the largest retail jewelers in the united states, has formally changed its corporate name to whitehall jewellers inc., the name of its largest chain of jewelry stores. the chicago company?s stock will now trade on the nasdaq under the symbol ?whji.

What’s New – Bench & Lab

ultradose jewelry cleaner powder is now available in a 10-lb. size. developed for use in ultrasonic machines, ultradose restores the sparkle and brilliance to diamonds, gold, precious metals, and gemstones. packaged for high-volume users, the new 10-lb. size can make up to 160 gallons of cleaner. l&r manufacturing co.

Diamond Grading with Bells and Whistles

electronic diamond-grading machines are becoming a staple at the counters of more and more jewelers, especially now that manufacturers have added consumer-grabbing features. retailers can put on a high-tech show when selling a diamond and give consumers more confidence in making their selection. the devices are particularly useful for non-gemologist jewelers dealing with knowledgeable customers.

GemNotes

gia study method is flawed, expert says the gemological institute of america’s recently published study on diamond proportion and brilliance prompted many to question its conclusions, contending that its critique of current diamond-grading systems is premature without a consideration of fire or scintillation.

What’s New – Business Services

in its first year of eligibility, jewelry appraisal services inc. has been named no. 87 on the houston 100, a ranking of private businesses having economic impact on the houston area. the company posted a 129% growth in sales from 1995 to 1997 and aims to expand its client base by 10% to 15% in the year to come.

UpFront

almost done. the basel fair organization in switzerland is investing some 300 million swiss francs to upgrade the infrastructure of its fairgrounds. at the heart of the plan is a new, two-story convention hall complex (shown here) replacing most of “building 1,” site of the watch segment of the annual international basel watch & jewelry fair, the largest in the world.

People

uja-federation to honor beryl raff beryl raff, president and chief operating officer of zale corp., will be honored by the diamond, jewelry, & watch division of uja-federation for outstanding achievements in her professional career and community service. uja-federation, a voluntary human-service network, aids more than 4.