March 2009

Jewelers to Government: Help!

Lana Fertelmeister

one-time clothing designer lana fertelmeister launched her jewelry business six years ago after unsuccessful attempts to find chic, affordable styles. she commissioned a jeweler to make a pair of earrings—her signature upside down hoops—of her own design, which got noticed by admirers. “traditional [jewelry] vendors didn’t speak to me or my girlfriends,” she explained to…

Retail Bankruptcies Pile Up

the jewelry industry was hit with two noteworthy retail bankruptcies as 2009 began. first, in january, was shane co., a midwest retailer that operates 23 stores in 14 states, which filed for chapter 11 in the middle of the month. the company, formerly known as western stone and metal, was famed for its radio ads featuring family member tom shane, who calls himself “your friend in the diam…

De Beers Copes With Crisis

after what some called its lowest sights in 20 years, de beers told clients it will slash mine production in half this year, a decision that has prompted massive layoffs in its african mines. in a more controversial move, de beers told its clients it would begin selling to non-sightholders but then reversed itself a few days later.

Global Meltdown

in a global poll of consumers, 72 percent said they’re cutting back expenses in some way in this economy. among emerging markets, only brazil is not showing a decline in consumer confidence. china’s consumer optimism declined 47 percent from 2007 to 2008. among established markets, germany, holland, and sweden have shown some resilience in the economic crisis.

Rolex-Led Alliance Unveils New Watchmaking Curriculum

a rolex usa–led alliance of u.s. watch training organizations and schools has unveiled a new curriculum that strengthens the quality of u.s. training in watchmaking. the curriculum expands the 3,000-hour international watchmakers of switzerland training program (wostep) with elements specific to u.

A Thousand Cuts

many jewelry companies began 2009 by making major staff reductions. among them: cartier put almost all 200 full-time workers making watch cases at one of its swiss watch factories on part-time status. de beers plans to cut up to 25 percent of its staff at its london headquarters. hearts on fire resized its staff to 2007 levels, the company said.


retailer j. edwards diamonds of albuquerque, n.m., has taken the better business bureau of the southwest to court over its rating on the organization’s web site, according to new mexico business journal. j. edwards was assigned a d, the second-lowest of 11 possible grades, which the store calls “inconceivable.

GIA Launches New eLearning Program

the gemological institute of america has announced a new online multimedia format for its distance learning courses in gemology and jewelry sales. the format, called “elearning,” features video for demonstrations, interviews with experts, instructor lectures, and “see it for yourself” segments.

How to Avoid Shipping Disaster

while packing, shipping, and receiving jewelry is a basic, integral part of any retail jeweler’s business, it’s anything but basic when it comes to ensuring that proper procedures are followed to protect the merchandise, the retailer, and the vendor, especially during busy times. horror stories abound of jewelry that was lost or damaged in transit, orders that were incomplete, diamonds and expe…

JVC and NCDIA Produce Color Diamonds Guide

jewelers vigilance committee and natural color diamond association have released “the essential guide to the u.s. trade in color diamonds.” it includes an overview of the geology of natural color diamonds; simplified nomenclature to describe natural, synthetic, and simulated; and a description of the treatments used to alter color in diamonds.

Gem Pricing Report

the agta gemfair in tucson, ariz., illustrated the strength of the global gem trade. although prices for most colored stone varieties are down, that was largely limited to commercial and good-quality grades. fine-quality material is holding value fairly well, and extra-fine goods are scarce in most top-selling gems.

The Frugal Consumer: When Shoppers Lose the Urge to Splurge

it was only last summer that the wall street journal was repeating the conventional wisdom that luxury items had not been affected by the recession. but once the financial crisis hit, that changed. “the recession is impacting affluent consumers just as hard as ordinary consumers,” says pam danziger of unity marketing, which tracks the luxury market.

The Fat’s in the Fire that’s the only way to put it. in the last few weeks i heard the same expression voiced in the auto industry and ours: “down 20 percent is the new good.” the industry has emerged from a disastrous season, though figures for 2008 are bearable because business didn’t hit a wall until the last two months.

Visits to SIHH Down

attendance plunged 20 percent at the prestigious salon international de la haute horlogerie luxury watch fair in geneva, held jan. 19–23. show officials blamed the global slowdown, but not overlapping basel world (late march/early april) also was a factor. some brands didn’t host their usual dinners for retailers, and exhibitors canceled gala events.

From the Blogs

joseph schlussel dies last week, we lost one of the nicest men in the diamond industry, joseph schlussel. … in the trade press world, he is probably best known for producing one of the first publications devoted to the diamond industry, the diamond registry bulletin. joe started the bulletin in 1968 and kept it going for 40 years, an amazing run for a newsletter.

Can U.S. Jewelry Manufacturers Survive?

manufacturers and retailers how are the customer support services that manufacturers provide retailers changing? matt runci with reduction in support services from trade groups, including the diamond promotion service, world gold council, and platinum guild international, manufacturers will play an increasingly important role in providing much-needed services—like co-op ads, marketing su…

From the JCK archives—June 1951

new applications of color television promise to add an important attraction to the retail store. the first step toward the use of television for commercial purposes has been taken by the jordan marsh co. of boston, who will utilize more than 20 receivers throughout the store to gain store-wide attention for a featured product.

The Facebook Phenomenon

a few years ago this page discussed “digital creep,” referring to those of us over a certain age who didn’t grow up with mouse in hand but have gradually grown more dependent on technology till we can’t conceive of life without internet, ipod, and blackberry. heck, even president obama’s first major battle was over his blackberry.

Did Colibri Shutdown Violate Law?

the sudden shutdown of the 80-year-old colibri group on jan. 14 outraged its 280 workers, with some claiming the company violated federal law. the closing was announced in a jan. 14 evening e-mail from president and ceo james r. fleet. but some workers didn’t find out until they came to work jan. 15 and found the message posted on locked doors.

How To Handle Layoffs

staff cutbacks may be the only way for some jewelers to survive the economic downturn. following are some of the main issues jewelers must address when considering layoffs, according to staffing experts: the key to implementing a best practices layoff plan and minimizing negative fallout is to have a clear, formal, legal policy in place that treats those who are cut with care and dignity and se…

JADE Law Updated

the customs service issued new regulations for ruby and jadeite importation under the tom lantos block burmese jade act of 2008. the act says burmese rubies and jadeite cannot enter the united states even if they were transformed elsewhere. the only exceptions are burmese rubies and jadeite in the united states prior to sept.

Say Bye-Bye to the Good Old Days

after attending the centurion show in arizona, where i talked to other attendees, went to seminars, participated in roundtable discussions, and listened to keynote speakers, several things are apparent. one and all painfully felt the recent holiday season, and the only certainty is that the future is filled with more uncertainty.

Four Steps to a Better 2009

to prosper during this time of unprecedented challenges, your store must provide superior shopping experiences that lead to more sales. don’t focus only on cutting costs. cost cutting is a prudent approach, but don’t reduce your ability to create value for your customers. consider reallocating resources to create more customer value.

Plan for the Worst

growing up in west philadelphia in a working-class neighborhood listening to my parents talk about the depression never made a dent in my consciousness. we baby boomers have lived in really good times. the most serious economic downturn i have experienced was in the late ’70s during the first oil shortage.

The Facebook Era Arrives

i’ve just returned from tucson, ariz., where i attended the centurion show and the agta show. as always, the warmth of tucson (figuratively and literally) was a terrific escape and the trip was a chance to see our friends in the industry. topic no. 1, of course, was the economy and its continuing negative impact on the jewelry industry.

Jewelers to Government: Help!

u.s. jewelers have an urgent plea for the new president and congress: lower the taxes! and, while they’re at it, make health insurance affordable so small-business owners can insure their workers and themselves. these are some results of a recent jck survey of hundreds of u.s. jewelers who were asked to name the big issues affecting them.

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