March 2011

2011 JCK Jewelers’ Choice Awards

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Light & Lovely

Candy-colored spring jewels guaranteed to make your mouth water

28 Show-Stopping Timepieces, From Sports Styles to Tourbillons

Beauty and brains collide in the year’s most fetching watches The watch market circa 2011 is a study in contradictions. Take the latest crop of slender, über-simple watches. It’s a remarkably sober selection, collectively inspired by a refined, retro style. At retail, however, the boom in the bold and bulky sports watch segment—led by Hublot,…

Gold: Turning Your Old Jewelry Into New Custom Designs

Everything Old Is New Again In February 2010, Aldemar Barrera noticed that business was starting to drop. He was selling fewer engagement rings, but it took a couple months for the owner of JB Jewelers in Plano, Texas, to realize that sales were down 40 percent. To reverse the alarming trend, Barrera decided to launch…

Diamonds: A New Online Price Guide, Crater State Park & More

Price Line A free diamond price guide has premiered online, promising consumers “real market pricing.” Max’s Diamond Price Guide (accessible at diamondpriceinfo.com) began because its founders—veterans of used-car resource Kelley Blue Book—“saw a niche,” says vice president of marketing Michael Muttert. “We were sitting around with a drink or two, and came up with this…

Hey Jade

Acquired more than a century ago from Tieh Bao Ting, a venerated gem dealer in Peking, this imperial jadeite bead necklace—the ultimate example of what the Chinese refer to as “the stone of heaven”—was prized by five generations of businessman Oei Tiong Ham’s family. Composed of 30 translucent emerald-green jadeite beads of uniform size, the…

Gem Pricing Report: The Buyers Are Back

Steady sales made for good moods in Tucson In a sign that the colored stone business is back from the brink, dealers at the Tucson 2011 gem shows reported that the market for rough is active once again overseas. Given that the mining sector was one of the earliest to recognize the severity of the…

From Lair to Luxury: Lotus Arts de Vivre’s Magic Dragon

At Lotus Arts de Vivre, materials are made for mixing. The family-run jewelry and household goods manufacturer is based in Bangkok but maintains a global following among the cognoscenti, who adore its utterly original combinations of precious metals and gems with organic ingredients such as ebony wood, shells, and scarab wings. The ethos underlying Lotus’…

JCK 5: VicenzaOro Style

JCK went trend-spotting at January’s VicenzaOro First fair:   1. Rose ring in 18k gold and enamel; $1,500; Graziella for Gold Expressions 2011, Arezzo, Italy; 39-05-753-2641; gruppograziella.it   2. Silver and 18k gold necklace with 0.61 ct. t.w. pyrite; $2,000; Leaderline for Blue White Group, Milan; 39-028-646-3546; leaderline.it    3. Bracelet in silver marcasite; $400;…

Suisse Watch: Baselworld 2011 Preview

Investment and a rebounding global economy could help boost business at Baselworld Excitement is brewing for the Baselworld 2011 World Watch and Jewellery Show, held March 24–31 in Basel, Switzerland. Sales everywhere—from Russia to the United States—are climbing, and vendors and store owners alike are looking forward to restocking inventories. Italian jeweler Antonini will bring…

The JCK Roundtable

Three Designers, Two Retailers, One Very Candid Conversation… At JCK’s first designer-retailer roundtable, held Jan. 13 at our offices in New York City, the often delightful, sometimes dysfunctional relationship between the creators and marketers of today’s cutting-edge jewels came under scrutiny. What emerged after two hours of intense discussion—edited and condensed on the following pages—was…

JCK 5: JCK Las Vegas Design Center Newbies

Five jewelers new to the Design Center at this year’s JCK Las Vegas… 1. Todd Reed: Ring with 2.22 ct. t.w. aquamarine set in ­palladium with 0.20 ct. t.w. black diamonds; $8,800; 303-442-6280; toddreed.com   2. Gregore Joiaillier: Mogul Fish earrings in 18k white gold with 0.52 cts. diamonds and 1.1 cts. t.w. pink sapphires;…

Talent Scouts

How Savvy Retailers Discover Designers Who Share Their Aesthetic Sensibilities Handmade in Minnesota According to Ellen Hertz, jewelry designers with big talent lurk in small places. To keep cases stocked at Max’s in St. Louis Park, Minn., a 5-year-old store with a niche in handmade goods, Hertz routinely shops the Philadelphia Buyer’s Market of American…

2011 JCK Jewelers’ Choice Awards

From a $130 silver ring to a $150,000 opal necklace, the winners of our annual design competition have one thing in common: Your seal of approval. The first of the year is always an exciting time in the JCK offices. (And not because of all the chocolate truffles and ­jewel-shaped candy floating around.) That’s when…

Steve McQueen Straps On a TAG Heuer

It’s hard to be as cool as Steve McQueen, but TAG Heuer’s Monaco watch comes pretty close. Sported by the screen legend in 1971’s auto racing film Le Mans, the piece was well ahead of its time. Featuring a string of firsts like an automatic chronograph and a water-resistant oversize square case—the Monaco, with its…

JCK Asks…Maximilian Büsser

He’s getting by with a little help from his friends MB&F founder Maximilian Büsser is blessed with many friends. He may have stamped his initials on his company, but he doesn’t turn out a single timepiece without at least 20 to 30 technicians and artists—Friends, as in MB&Friends—who do everything from build watch movements to…

Golden Moments

Yellow metal and colored stones reign at the 68th annual Golden Globes Angelina Jolie Angelina Jolie may have laughed over her nomination for The Tourist, but she clearly took her dress selection very seriously—eschewing her usual black and white palette for a vivid green Atelier Versace. Jolie has always been jewelry-shy, but no girl needs…

JCK 5: Watercolor Works

Spring flowers and Easter Sunday outfits have company this year in the season’s ­pastel-hued jewels. Think morganite, beryl, and more for their soft, watery shades—­perfect complements to spring’s romantic styles. Stones range in price, too, from exquisite aquamarine to oh-so-affordable prasiolite, ensuring palatable options exist for all at the counter. 1. (Above) Garden of Senses…

Innovative Retailer: J. David Jewelry

You’re doin’ fine, Oklahoma jeweler Joel David Wiland Joel David Wiland hates paper. (It probably goes back to the days when he emptied the trash at a jewelry store.) So now that Wiland runs his own retail operation, he’s vowed to turn J. David ­Jewelry into a completely paper-free company. But banishing pulp products from…

View From the Top: The GIA’s Donna Baker

GIA’s Donna Baker has the discipline to get things done In November 2006, Donna M. Baker, a former high school teacher from Detroit, became the fifth person—and the first woman—to lead the Gemological Institute of America in its then–75-year history. Her career path was circuitous, to say the least: Baker spent 10 years as a…

Store We Adore: Park Cities Jewelers

2500 Cedar Springs Rd., Dallas Nestled in the heart of Uptown, this sun-drenched 3,500-square-foot sparkle-fest is the third incarnation of Ahmed Saleh’s Park Cities store. Now 33, Saleh emigrated alone from Egypt when he was just 15 years old. Without speaking a word of English, he landed a job making and repairing jewelry at his…

It’s All Relative: Marshall Pierce & Co.’s Jerry Bern Jr. and Evan Bern

These Windy City slickers know Chicago is their kind of town “You have to love the jewelry business to be a success,” says Marshall Pierce & Co. president Jerry Bern Jr. The Berns must really love it; they’ve been serving the Chicago market for four generations since 1897. (Their watch and repair business goes back…

App-solutely Not

Why jumping on the Android and iPhone application bandwagon may not be right for your store If you’ve ever downloaded an app on your iPhone, you’ve probably thought, “We need one of these for our store!” Apps are fun and easy to use, and the best ones get a lot of attention. Considering that a…

JCK 5: Blue Water Jewelers

Robert Nettles woos customers with diamonds, kissing contests, and fresh-baked cookies 1. Tell us about a nightmare scenario you turned around to save the day. A young bridal client lost her Rolex at the beach—the watch her parents gave her for high school graduation. [As she was about] to confront her parents and replace the…

JCK 5: Alternate URLs

1. Blue Water Jewelers St. Augustine, Fla.Main URL: bluewater-jewelers.comAlternate: staugustinediamonds.com “This is one of 15 URLs we own.” —Owner Robert Nettles 2. Hacker Jewelers Tecumseh, Mich. Main URL: hackerjewelers.comAlternate: antwerprocks.com, adiamondisalegacy.com “?‘A Diamond Is a Legacy’ is a tagline in my ads; antwerprocks.com is for a future campaign.” —CEO Dan Hacker 3. Hilderbrand Diamond Co.…

Buyer Up: Caution Prevails at the Counter

Things are looking up in the ­jewelry business…at least that’s what the economic indicators would have you believe. Declining personal debt levels, a rising stock market, and nationwide salary gains prove that the country is enjoying a noticeable, if modest, recovery. But many store owners wonder: Is the economy’s buoyancy just the calm before the…

Aquamarine

Dubbed “The Sailor’s Stone,” March’s birthstone, the aquamarine, was thought to protect sailors and people traveling by water. A member of the beryl family, it typically ranges in color from pale sky blue to a deep blue-green. Medieval alchemists believed the gem could prevent excess water retention and enhance the body’s digestive and eliminative functions.…

Industry & People

COMINGS AND GOINGS >>?The Gemological Institute of America appointed Jennifer A. Josef director of education for the New York City campus Jan. 3. Josef will develop educational outreach to the trade as well as the general public. Prior to joining GIA, Josef was the director of public education and interpretation at the New York Botanical…

JCK Fund Awards 2011 Grants

On Feb. 1, the JCK Group announced four recipients of 2011 JCK Industry Fund grants. The Jewelers’ Security Alliance was recognized for its ongoing initiative with eBay. (JSA president John Kennedy noted that thanks to JCK’s support, an eBay seller was arrested for allegedly selling fenced jewelry.) The American Gem Society received an award for…

De Beers Embracing “Different Model” of Marketing

In December, JCK first reported that De Beers’ U.S. advertising account, a trade institution for decades, was shutting down, along with its Diamond Promotion Service and Diamond Information Center divisions. Instead, De Beers is putting its entire U.S. marketing budget behind the Forevermark, a line of inscribed diamonds that it has introduced throughout the world.…

Mine of the Times

On Jan. 21, De Beers announced the sale of its Finsch mine in South Africa to Petra Diamonds for approximately $200 million. In 2007, Petra bought De Beers’ Cullinan and Kimberley mines. Analysts call Finsch—one of De Beers’ most modern operations—a huge score for Petra. It is South Africa’s second-largest diamond mine by production, after…

Polygon Founder, Boyajian Debut Diamond Listings

Polygon founder Jacques Voorhees and former GIA president William E. Boyajian have launched DailyDiamondReport.com, a trading network featuring diamonds that haven’t appeared elsewhere on the Internet. Jacques Voorhees The diamond listings will be supplied by the GIA and AGS labs immediately after the stones are graded. Diamond companies must agree that their stones will be…

JCK 5: Majors’ Holiday Sales Results

Independents enjoyed a solid ­Christmas season (See “Holiday 2010: Mood Up, but Not Prices,” JCK, February 2011, p. 31), and the majors all recorded strong gains as well: 1. Zale Corp. posted its best holiday in years: Same-store sales rose 8.5 percent; total revenues ($533.1 million) rose 8 percent. 2. The Jared division of Signet…

Luxe and Lace at New York’s Fall Fashion Week

If the ensembles that sashayed down the runways during New York Fashion Week (Feb. 9–16) are any indication, fashionistas will be living the luxe life come Fall 2011. Buttery leathers, plush furs, and exquisite lace popped up everywhere, from the cool-girl chic of The Row to the sexiness of Michael Kors to the uptown elegance…

The Wide World of Gems

Every year, I look forward to the first week of February and my annual pilgrimage to Tucson, home to scores of events celebrating colored stones. The 10th edition of the high-end Centurion show kicked things off. Held at the ­Westin La Paloma located north of the city center, with the Santa Catalina Mountains as backdrop,…

10 Things Rocking the Industry

1. Beads Distribution of Trollbeads in North America has devolved into a nasty legal fight between parent company Lise Aagaard Copenhagen and its former U.S. rep, Lund Consulting. On Jan. 27, Aagaard announced it was taking over Trollbeads’ distribution by setting up an office in Princeton, N.J., after it investigated Lund’s involvement with rival bead…