March 1, 2002

From the Heart: The Newest Push for Platinum

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JA Joins Forces with DDC

jewelers of america and the diamond dealers club have arranged for ja members to have direct access to the floor of the 47th street bourse.any ja member will be able to visit and buy in the club for a day. the ddc also will organize buying days for ja chapters and take pictures of the jewelers for use in local media.

Swatch Auction Raises $800,000

some $800,000 was raised for charity in the “swatch wristory,” the spectacular international auction of exclusive swatch watches conducted in new york city by sotheby’s auction house. the event, hosted dec. 3 by the swatch group of switzerland, also was broadcast live to swatch stores in milan, berlin, and zurich via satellite, with bidders phoning in bids from around the world.

Running a Tighter Ship

you’ve given the nervous groom-to-be a thorough education and engaged in endless pep talks and handholding. finally, he’s decided on the diamond of his dreams. your supplier assures you it will be at your door the next day. the groom’s happy, and so are you. you wait for the package and … nothing.

Identity Crisis

it’s code blue time for the blue light.despite kmart’s initial declarations of solvency, for months chapter 11 bankruptcy loomed for the nation’s seventh-largest retailer. in medical terms, a “code blue” means a patient has gone into cardiopulmonary arrest and needs immediate resuscitation to survive.

Retailing in Tough Times: Saving Money and Cutting Costs

jewelers spend 20% to 25% more than necessary in their operations, say business experts. that’s foolish in good times, but in tough economic times, it could make things even tougher. here are practical tips from jewelers and business and retail experts on how to tighten the business belt without choking the business.

Self Praise

alice gallagher mignatti, the mother of a good friend, used to say, “self-praise stinks.” mrs. mignatti was absolutely right, but for once i feel compelled to ignore her sage advice.that’s because i’m proud of the effort jck magazine and the jck shows have made to provide support to a variety of industry associations.

Texas Jeweler Found Guilty of Murder

a texas jeweler was found guilty of murder jan. 29 in the shooting death of a traveling jewelry salesman, and sentenced to life imprisonment. the jury in the seguin, texas, trial of jeweler alejandro torres, 27, took only two hours to reach their verdict. torres had been charged with the murder of majid “mike” zerovabeli, 38, and theft of diamond jewelry, valued at over $500,000, that he …

Long Live the Egg

german gem carver and gem artist manfred wild of the firm emil becker in kirschweiler, germany, claims he’s produced more jeweled eggs than the famous jeweler carl fabergé. wild says that in 20 years he has created more than double what “old carl fabergé with all his big staff” put together in 40 years.

Lange & Söhne Returns to Historic Headquarters

lange & söhne, the renowned luxury german watch brand, finally returned to its former headquarters in glasshütte, saxony, germany on dec. 7, 2001.the building—which contains the business’s workshops and a residence—was opened in 1873 by ferdinand adolph lange, founder of both the company and the precision watchmaking industry of saxony.

Nissko Division Targets Small Buyers

new york-based nissko jewelry trading has launched a closeout division targeted to independent retailers and wholesalers. the new business, named united manufacturer’s jewelry outlet, opened in december. officials at nissko say they have teamed up with six other manufacturers—who prefer to remain anonymous—to offer small-quantity closeout goods such as samples and small return…

Fire in the Tanzanite Hole

afgem, the south african-based tanzanite mining company, claims it has been attacked underground at its mine in tanzania, according to an african newswire report. quoting an afgem press release, the report noted that afgem alleged the “invasion” was well planned and financed by owners of small-scale mines in block b, who it says are tunneling into afgem’s block c lease and illegally mining.

Spicing Up Bridal: A Taste of Latin Design

j. lo (actress and singer jennifer lopez, to anyone out of the pop culture loop) is designing her own clothing line. ricky martin still makes women around the world swoon. and penelope cruz’s dark-skinned beauty has reportedly charmed america’s prince of film, tom cruise.if there’s ever been a coming-of-age for hispanic pop culture, this is it.

Omega Mourns Peter Blake

omega-sponsored environmentalist sir peter blake, 53, a two-time winner of the prestigious america’s cup yachting race, was murdered dec. 6 in brazil. omega, one of the world’s leading swiss luxury watches, is chief sponsor of “blakexpeditions,” which blake founded to raise awareness of environmental issues affecting “life in, on, and around the waters of the world.

The Gem Hunter in Afghanistan

gem and mineral dealer gary bowersox appeared on abc’s good morning america recently with samples of gems from afghanistan. during an interview with diane sawyer, bowersox—usually seen in afghan native garb—sported a suit and tie as he described the beauty of afghan kunzite, emerald, ruby, and lapis for viewers.

De Beers: We’re Custodians Again

de beers, which spent the last year and a half renouncing its role of “custodian” of the industry, is reclaiming that mantle.managing director gary ralfe has used the term in interviews and meetings with representatives of diamond centers, ever since de beers cut back its allocations in response to the worldwide drop in demand.

‘Padparadschas’ are Diffusion Treated

numerous sapphires coming out of bangkok that look like nice padparadschas have been diffusion treated, according to a study conducted by the agta gem testing center. “they’re madagascar pink sapphires being diffused with oxygen, and quite possibly something else, giving them a distinctly orangey appearance,” says gtc lab director kenneth scarratt.

First De Beers Store to Open in London

the first de beers-lvmh retail store is due to open this year in london’s exclusive mayfair district, according to south africa’s sunday times. the joint venture, now called de beers lv, plans to open stores in cities throughout the world, including new york and other cities in the united states.

De Beers and Russia Sign Deal

de beers has inked a new deal with russia that gives it half of that country’s diamond production for the next five years. “it’s good news for the market, especially in these uncertain times,” says de beers spokeswoman kate evan-jones. “it brings a level of reassurance that the two largest diamond producers have signed an agreement and will work together for five years ahead.

Plus-Size Market Increases

no longer a niche market, the plus-size market in the united states has become the norm. according to american demographics, 61% of today’s 20- to 74-year-olds are overweight and 44% are obese (defined as more than 30% above ideal body weight).a florida-based market research publisher, marketdata, estimates that the typical plus-size woman spends $932 each year on clothing; annual spendin…

JSA Lobbies for New Task Force

the jewelers security alliance has resumed lobbying the federal government on behalf of the industry’s anti-jewelry crime coalition. jsa suspended lobbying after the sept. 11 terrorist attacks and delayed resumption while the fbi reorganized to focus on homeland security.this year, jsa is modifying its lobbying strategy, says jsa president john j.

Personal Choice

ever since hbo’s sex and the city character carrie bradshaw popularized the nameplate necklace last year, consumers have been clamoring for personalized jewelry. at new england sterling in attleboro, mass., approximately 20% of non-holiday orders of silver jewelry call for engraving, and that figure increases to 40% during the holiday season.

Diamonds Declared ‘Politically Incorrect’

the diamond industry got another pre-christmas slamming on network television—this time on abc’s politically incorrect.host bill maher lambasted the diamond industry as “a dirty business” and told viewers not to buy diamonds, since it’s impossible to distinguish a “clean” stone from a “conflict” stone.

Botswana Promotes Its ‘Clean’ Diamonds

the government of botswana is getting more aggressive in promoting its message that not all diamonds are conflict stones.”the story everyone is writing about is that diamonds are funding all these horrible atrocities [in west africa],” alfred dube, botswana’s ambassador to the united states, told trade editors during a recent luncheon.

North Carolina’s Emerald Man Hits Pay Dirt Again

almost three years ago, james king hill found emeralds on his north carolina property using a backhoe, pick, and shovel. (see “colombian-quality emeralds found in the united states,” jck, april 1999, p. 15.) he struck pay dirt again in january when he found two more large emerald crystals, this time using high-tech radar imaging equipment.

Fabrikant Purchases Part of Lazare Kaplan

m. fabrikant and sons recently purchased 5% of lazare kaplan.the deal involves 17.7% of the company’s outstanding stock—1,305,000 shares—which the fifth avenue group, a fabrikant affiliate, bought at $9 each. at press time, lki’s stock traded at $8.20; its 52-week low was $3.90.although the acquisition gives fabrikant a stake in its fellow sightholder, lki’s statement explicit…

Schwarzchild Honors Harris

for some of richmond’s most fashionable, the allure of schwarzchild jewelers is not the store’s history or charm but rather the woman who for 10 years has brought the art of high design in house and created customized jewelry for individual clients.in recognition of trish mitchell’s decade as the talented eye and warm face of schwarzchild custom design, the jeweler recently held a special…

AGTA Lab Has New Padparadscha ID

ken scarratt, director of the american gem trade association’s gemological testing center (agta-gtc) says the lab now can determine clearer parameters for the color description of padparadscha sapphires. “we didn’t just home in on our own science or opinion,” notes scarratt. “we talked to people in all corners of the world—the japanese market, the thai market, the u.

HRD to Showcase ‘Living Diamonds’

antwerp’s diamond high council (hrd) will unveil “living diamonds” in the city’s diamond museum in november 2002. the exhibit displays ways in which animals and plants have been incorporated into diamond jewelry designs. the show will feature pieces from cartier international and others.

Company to Mass-Produce Synthetic Yellow Diamonds

gemesis corp., based in sarasota, fla., has stepped up production of its yellow synthetic diamonds and is planning a jewelry line and marketing push for this spring. although it is not the first company to create jewelry with synthetic yellows, company officials claim its output is larger and better than its predecessors’.

Spinel

the name “spinel” doesn’t conjure up thoughts of romance, or even history. it’s not a birthstone or an alternate birthstone. it ranks 22 on the list of anniversary stones, below the lesser-known iolite. but spinel has been around for hundreds of years and, in at least one instance, can boast of its own “crowning achievement.

Long-Distance Learning

a number of new gemological computer programs are available to jewelers. the american gem trade association has released “selling colored gemstones,” a training program that uses “streaming media modules.” executive director doug hucker is the instructor.the swiss gemmological institute (ssef) has released its tutorial cd on laboratory identification tests performed for diamonds, pearls, …

From the Heart: The Newest Push for Platinum

in the 1990s, platinum guild international took platinum from its status as a largely unrecognized metal and brought it to widespread acceptance as a metal of choice for bridal jewelry. now, undeterred by pricing or the recent emergence of yellow gold as fashion’s favorite, pgi has a new mission: to plant the concept of nonbridal platinum jewelry into the consumer consciousness.

Another Boost for Gold Jewelry

with fashion demanding gold accessories, and the world gold council’s worldwide marketing push helping to drive media exposure of the warm metal, new players are hoping to capitalize on consumer demand for gold jewelry.in a demonstration of the changing nature of this industry, a new consumer web site and direct-to-consumer catalog was launched recently by an unusual triumvirate.