March 2014

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Cartier’s Million-Dollar Egyptian Art Deco Brooch

Louis Cartier, founder of the legendary house of Cartier, personally collected and studied Egyptian antiquities. He set the ancient artifact centering this beautiful brooch—the goddess Sekhmet (protector of the pharaohs), depicted as a lion—into a classically Art Deco design in 1923, just a year after the discovery of King Tut’s tomb kicked off an era…

Bridal: Heather Moore’s Locket, Kirk Kara’s Pirouetta

Locket Science Heather Moore knows all about sentimental message jewels—not to mention bridal designs, thanks to the debut of a collection last summer. Her recent offering, the Locket ring, combines both beautifully in an unexpected way: a gold band with a cavity containing either an inscribable metal insert or a tiny paper scroll ideal for…

Silver: Royal Asscher’s New York Story, Jessica Cagan Cushman’s Berlin Line

New York Story What do a sixth-generation diamantaire and a U.K. pop star have in common? A love of New York City. That’s why Lita Asscher, president of Royal Asscher, and Estelle Fanta Swaray—aka “American Boy” songstress Estelle—teamed up to create a youthful jewelry collection. “New York has this amazing energy,” says Asscher. “It gives…

Gold: Wendy Brandes’ Maneater Rings

Rock and Bull Story Who would’ve thought that a $10 trinket from a New York City street vendor could influence an artist for decades? Certainly not Wendy Brandes. Back in the 1980s, the jewelry designer bought a dragon-themed brass bell because the seller told her it “had a really good knight.” When she turned the…

Diamonds: Tiffany Settings, CanadaMark Gems

Terms & Use Is Tiffany setting a generic term, like pilates, elevator, or, most recently, app store? Or does it belong exclusively to Tiffany, as the retailer’s lawyers argue? A Jan. 20 court opinion didn’t answer that question, although Judge Laura Swain did say that a “genuine factual dispute” exists over the issue, and the…

From Mine to Store: Katherine Jetter’s Cut Opal Flower Ring

When Katherine Jetter’s opal distributors told her that cutting into opals was considered verboten, she didn’t abandon her plan to create blossoms with the iridescent gems. “I really fought with my mining guys,” she says. “The old-school view is to not cut down opals, which is why opals are so often these ugly, weird shapes.”…

5 Jewels We Can’t Wait to See in Hong Kong

Look for these firms at the Hong Kong International Jewellery Show at the city’s convention center from March 5–9. (Above)1. 18k gold Wave ring with 3.18 cts. t.w. sapphires and 2.36 cts. t.w. diamonds; $9,772; Aspire Designs, Hong Kong; 852-2815-1218; aspire.com.hk   2. Madame de Pompadour bracelet in 18k gold with diamonds and golden pearl;…

Getting Wound Up for the 2014 Baselworld Watch & Jewelry Show

At this month’s Basel fair, find the high, the low, and the in-between Thierry Andretta is banking on brisk business for one-of-a-kind jewels and timepieces as he prepares for the 2014 edition of the Baselworld luxury watch and jewelry fair, which runs at the convention center in Basel, Switzerland, from March 27 to April 3.…

Inside the Smartwatch Phenomenon

The times they are a-changin’! As smartwatches become more widely available, will the nonsmart business get left behind? The jewelry industry has long acknowledged—sometimes with pride—that beyond being pleasing to the eye, its products have no practical use. But watches always have been the exception because they served one not-to-be-scoffed-at function: They told time. Then,…

How Retailers and Designers Can Guard Against Knockoffs

Jewelers have been plagued by knockoffs for centuries. JCK talks to a handful who have fought back. Jewelry designers tend to remember the first time they got knocked off in the same way that most people remember the exact moment they learned about a terrible event. For Betsy Cross, a designer and retailer in Portland,…

Fresh Flair: 10 Up-and-Coming Jewelry Designers

Need ­something bold, ­something new? These ­artists have all the right jewels. Get to know their names—and their inventive jewelry designs—before they really break out. And trust us, they will. Crow’s Nest Jewels London-based Daniel Belevitch and Julian Koegel debuted their boho-chic 18k gold line in 2011. The creative director and managing partner, respectively, use…

Elizabeth Taylor, Queen of Style

During Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton’s famously wicked affair—or “Le Scandale,” as they cheekily called it—on the Italian set of Cleopatra in 1962, the couple frequented the Bulgari boutique on Rome’s Via Condotti. Burton apparently had a preternatural talent for knowing what his ladylove desired, such as a brooch featuring a 23.44 ct. Colombian octagonal…

JCK Asks…Karen Moustafellos

EnA’s designer on girl-powered jewelry Most designers—jewelry and otherwise—spend their careers chasing after celebrity red-carpet placement. But Karen Moustafellos of EnA (Elements and Alloys) has other ideas: “I am really hoping our jewelry is worn by Janet Yellen and Marissa Mayer too.” The Federal Reserve chair and Yahoo! CEO, respectively, do seem ideal wearers for…

Cold Comfort: Trends and Ads in the February Fashion Magazines

Harper’s Bazaar Pushing:• Charm- and shell-trimmed necklace; seed-bead–covered cuff (“What’s In: Global”)• Fossilized ivory and diamond earrings; wide gold cuff with horn inlay (“World Beat: An exotic edge gives pieces a Talitha Getty–worthy look”)Advertisers:Cartier, Rolex, Van Cleef & Arpels, JB Star, Jacob & Co., Satya, TAG Heuer, Le Vian, Tacori, Effy, Hearts On Fire InStyle…

Glasses and Gems Glimmer at Higashi Jewelry & Eyewear

For Higashi Jewelry & Eyewear owner Susan Fotos, sapphires and spectacles make ­fantastic bedfellows. Her 1,500-square-foot store in Lemoyne, Pa., not only sells fine jewelry but also includes a full optical shop—complete with on-site ­ophthalmologist—offering frames from swank eyewear makers including Tom Ford, Oliver Peoples, Persol, Prada, and Tiffany. A lifelong fan of cool specs,…

A. Marek

3021 Butterfield Road, Oak Brook, Ill. Luxury retailers in Chicago tend to congregate around posh shopping districts such as the Magnificent Mile and Oak Street on the Gold Coast. But A. Marek—an opulent jewelry boutique located 15 miles from downtown—went against the grain. Owner Barbara Bradford, a staple in Chicago’s philanthropic community, chose to set…

Henne Jewelers Party

Diamonds and gold are king at this Steel City mainstay “It would be wrong for a father to have a child in the business only because they are his child,” muses Jack Henne, the semi-retired patriarch of Pittsburgh-based fine jewelry store Henne Jewelers. “The owner has to feel confident that their child is capable,” he…

Twitter Ball: A 5-Point Tweet Sheet for Retailers

Twitter, the social network famed for its focus on brevity, has long been considered a must for small businesses looking to promote their services. But as Twitter has exploded—it now has 500 million users pumping out 140-character tidbits on a continual loop—it’s harder than ever to gain a following. Ryan Goff, social media marketing director…

Tips for Building Up Your Customer Base

If you’re a regular reader of this column, then you’ve probably gathered that we are big fans of using your database to drive customers and sales to your business. The cost of engaging a warm prospect is always much lower than the expense of trying to attract a new one. But a business that relies…

Service Is the Wayne Event at Shami Fine Watchmaking

1. What was your finest hour in the realm of customer service? We had a customer who had a watch that belonged to their grandfather. It was broken and he took it to a couple of different places—it had a lot of sentimental value. But no one was able to fix it. We ended up…

The Pluses and Perils of Promoting From Within: A Retailer’s Guide

Promoting managers from within the ranks of your sales staff can be an enticing prospect. After all, your best salespeople, presumably, have proved to be trustworthy and hardworking—and they already know the ins and outs of your operation. But promoting from within is not without its potential pitfalls, say retail experts. Not the least of…

Rising Arizona: Gem Pricing, March 2014

With across-the-board price hikes, buyers were quality-conscious and compromise-ready The consensus after the 2014 Tucson gem shows is that the market is improving. No single gem stood out this year. But spinel attracted a lot of attention. Beryl and tourmaline were also noticeably better represented. In finer grades, prices on both gems were appreciably higher…

Jewelry Industry & People: March 2014

COMINGS AND GOINGS Maren Rosen >>?Stuller Inc. has promoted Maren Rosen to vice president, bridal and jewelry. She previously served as executive director, bridal and jewelry.  >>?Frances Diniz joined Mastoloni as West Coast sales associate. She has worked in wholesale management for Montblanc and Cartier and helped bring Wellendorff to the U.S. market. >>?Francesco Trapani,…

Jewels Were Few and Far Between at Fall 2014 Fashion Week

No pun intended, but Prabal Gurung’s show, early during New York’s Fashion Week, revealed a lot. He was inspired by the Buddhist kingdom of Mustang; Asian references were all over this season. He showed plenty of thick fur—a full-on trend by week’s end. Ditto his emphasis on cozily oversized proportions. And then there was the…

JCK 5: Slight Christmas

Publicly listed jewelers’ financial results for the 2013 holiday season showed only low- to mid- single-digit growth: 1. Tiffany & Co. saw worldwide net sales rise 4 percent to $1.03 billion during November and December, while global comps rose 6 percent. Comps in the Americas rose 7 percent. 2. Zale Corp. announced a 2 percent…

Adventures on the Road: Publisher’s Letter, March 2014

The first few weeks of 2014 got the year off to an adventurous start, taking me from the wintry beauty of Italy’s Veneto to the mild warmth of the Arizona desert. First up was the VicenzaOro Winter show in Vicenza, Italy. Unlike those who arrived for the start of the show and were met with…

From Sochi With Love: Editor’s Letter, March 2014

Last month, I watched Team USA’s Julia Mancuso earn a bronze medal in the women’s alpine skiing competition at Krasnaya Polyana, a craggy region of the ­Caucasus about 45 minutes east of Sochi. Home to the skiing and snowboarding events of the 2014 Winter Olympics, the mountain cluster saw some of the games’ tightest races,…

10 Things Rocking the Industry: March 2014

1. Watches The Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, which concluded its 24th edition Jan. 24 in Geneva, works hard to maintain a vibe of exclusivity. Guests dine on foie gras and truffles while perusing timepieces from 16 of the world’s most distinguished makers. This year, however, some brands opted to show their democratic sides…