November 1, 2001

Jck's Exclusive Salary Survey: Surprising Changes Since 1990

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Silence

no words are sufficient to convey the loss and grief brought about by the terrors of september 11. we grieve not only for the individuals gone and the loved ones they left behind but also for the loss of our innocence. the emptiness of this page pales next to the voids left in our broken families, broken hearts, and broken cities.

Diamonds at Retail: Steady Staples, Shrinking Margins

margins on diamond products are getting lower, but diamond “staples” still account for most of retailers’ sales, an exclusive new jck survey shows.the poll of jck’s retail panel, which drew 195 responses, also shows widespread misgivings about brands but high acceptance and support for ideal cuts and grading reports.

Gemstone Carver Lectures at GIA

lapidary artist and gemstone carver glenn lehrer, g.g., a graduate of the gemological institute of america (gia), returned to the institute recently to present a lecture on “shaping splendid gems.” lehrer’s talk was the second in the gia museum gallery’s lecture series titled “what makes a gem special? understanding the key factors in determining beauty, rarity, and durability.

True Blue

bonnie adleman, 55, buys jewelry for herself about four times a year, but she drops in and browses the cases at schwarzchild jewelers much more frequently than that. she likes to look at and touch jewelry, and she loves to try it on. “i’ve always loved jewelry, ever since i was a little girl. it’s just such a feminine thing, and it makes you feel beautiful,” she says.

DCA Vows Higher Profile

terry chandler vows that the diamond council of america will no longer be the industry’s “best-kept secret.”chandler has headed the group since the beginning of the year after serving for years on its board while running michelson’s jewelers in paducah, ky. he says the nashville-based group will be more active in the industry.

‘Doc’ Robinson Resigns

marc “doc” robinson resigned from his positions at pm west/fine gold, los angeles and ontario, calif., effective oct. 31. robinson says he plans to form a new company, goldbarz international, which will gather clients for jewelry manufacturing consulting involving the industrial and environmental side of the business.

Kunzite

spodumene is not one of the retail jeweler’s most talked-about gem materials, but its pink variety, kunzite, is certainly a recognized name. although it’s found in remote mining areas in places such as afghanistan and brazil, kunzite actually was discovered right here in the united states.history and romance.

Asprey & Garrard to Separate

asprey & garrard, jeweler to the british royal family and maker of other luxury goods, plans to separate into two companies and open new stores around europe and the united states.the new companies will seek to boost their overseas profiles, opening at least 30 new stores in the coming years and reaching out to younger buyers who may have been put off by their blue-blooded image.

JCK Fund Extends Deadline

requests for grants from the jck jewelry industry fund will be accepted until dec. 1, 2001, one month later than previously announced. the names of the 2002 grant recipients will be announced at jck’s industry party—”mardi gras in orlando!”—on feb 2, 2002, at the orange county convention center.

Swatch Group’s Profits Fall 9.8%, Despite Rise in Sales, Earnings

the swatch group, the world’s largest watch producer, on aug. 20 reported a 9.8% drop in net profits for the half year (ended june 30), to about $139.5 million (231 billion swiss francs), despite gains in gross sales and earnings.the biel, switzerland, conglomerate also said it has lowered its full-year sales growth target to 5%-8%, down from 10%-12%.

Sophisticated Masculinity

a television commercial features a 30-something professional man who is tired of dressing down. after visiting a local menswear store, he’s dressed to impress, and he hits the office, where a co-worker’s casual wear—in an exaggerated comparison—is depicted as a robe and slippers. comical perhaps, but this commercial is also a reflection of today’s attitudes toward men’s fashion.

Bea Shapiro Dies

bea shapiro, wife of diamond club west coast president ralph shapiro and a prominent diamond dealer in her own right, died recently.in addition to working in the diamond business, bea was a fashion designer who was active in community affairs. following her death, the city of irvine, calif., dedicated a 23-acre park in her memory.

The Heat—and Pressure—Is On By

the first reports of high-pressure, high-temperature (hpht) treatments for diamonds hit the trade like an earthquake. eventually, hpht producer pegasus (now bellataire) agreed to inscribe its stones and sell them directly to retailers. the industry hoped it had solved all the problems associated with this new treatment.

AJDC Seeks New Talent

the american jewelry design council (ajdc) is accepting applications from talented new jewelry designers for its annual contest, which awards one winner a booth in the new designer gallery of the ja show in new york. the contest is among the most prestigious for new designers in the industry.submissions are due by january 15, 2002.

Conflict Bill Introduced in House

the senate’s compromise conflict diamond bill has been introduced in the house.rep. tony hall (d-ohio) recently replaced his original “clean diamonds act” with the compromise legislation that has the support of both the industry and nongovernmental organizations (ngos). co-sponsors include rep.

De Beers to Pitch Three-Stone Jewelry for Christmas

de beers is ramping up its “three-stone jewelry” campaign with a christmastime commercial and print ad campaign.the new ads take the “past, present, and future” positioning de beers used for the three-stone anniversary ring and expand it to earrings and necklaces. but while the new campaign asks readers to “celebrate [their] life together” with three-stone pieces, it doesn’t mention anniv…

JMI Adds New Coverages, Tests New Products

jewelers mutual insurance co. (jmi) has introduced employment practices liability insurance and equipment breakdown insurance and has enhanced coverages under its jewelers block and business owners policies. jmi also is in the process of testing new products, including trade defense liability coverage (available on a limited basis), which provides wholesalers with coverage if they are sue…

LKI’s Laser Inscription Patent Upheld

the u.s. district court for the southern district of new york ruled in august that pacific technology corporation (ptc) of new york had infringed on lazare kaplan international’s diamond laser inscription patent. this judgment effectively slapped a permanent injunction on ptc, halting all diamond inscription services and equipment sales that violate lki’s patent.

Varna’s Juliette

another new diamond cut is making its way into the market, this time from a platinum designer and manufacturer. garo chividjian, master platinumsmith of varna platinum in los angeles, laughed when he was asked why varna called the new cut “juliette”: “you wouldn’t call a new diamond cut ‘romeo,’ would you?” the juliette debuted in varna’s 2001 summer collection and is featured exclusivel…

Bellataire Raises Funds for Cancer Research

in late july, more than 1,000 celebrities, socialites, and their children joined hosts donna karan, martha nelson, and instyle magazine for the “super saturday 4” carnival at the nova’s project in water mill, new york.adults at the exclusive event shopped at more than 50 designer booths while younger guests made their own sunglasses and hats and enjoyed rides and games.

De Beers: U.S. Market Down

de beers estimates that retail diamond jewelry sales are down 2% to 3% for the first six months of the year.de beers managing director gary ralfe said he had expected the drop to be higher, given the gloom in the market. he noted that imports into the u.s. are down 20%, mostly because most american jewelers are still heavily stocked as the result of a lackluster christmas 2000.

Deliver Us From Evil

i began writing this column three days after the attacks on new york and washington. like everyone, except for the maniacs who planned, executed, and supported this terror against the people of america, i am numb, angry, and trying to comprehend the evil that was thrust upon us.we are all joined in a battle now.

How Hamilton Watch Co. Won World War II

as the united states marks the 60th anniversary of its entry into world war ii, there is a story from that conflict worth retelling. it is the tale of a watch company in pennsylvania’s amish farm country, whose accurate timekeepers were essential to the allied forces’ victories. it is the story of how hamilton watch co.

Stingray Coral

one way to create interest this holiday season is to show something unusual. stingray coral from alaska could be the answer. mark castagnoli of placer gold design, vancouver, b.c., uncovered this new gem from prince of wales island. it’s an attractive gem-quality fossil coral, identified as 400 million-year-old favosite coral that has been replaced by silica-rich calcium.

JSA, JMI Issue Advisories

the jewelers’ security alliance and jewelers mutual insurance issued the following advisories following sept. 11’s disaster: if carry-on jewelry bags are allowed, says kennedy, opening them for airport security won’t increase risk of theft.

Fantasies By Mouawad

the body may be “by victoria,” but the diamonds are pure mouawad.popular lingerie retailer victoria’s secret, now in its sixth year of promoting dreams, has paired up with the internationally famed jeweler to create the newest fantasy bra.dubbed the heavenly star bra, it features 320 cts. of gemstones and a 90-ct.

Industry Responds to Terrorist Attacks

the u.s. jewelry, gem, and watch industries responded quickly to aid the victims of the sept. 11 terrorist attacks on new york city and washington, d.c. many lost friends and acquaintances in the destruction of the world trade center in new york and plane crashes at the pentagon and in pennsylvania.

Rainbow Sapphires

from madagascar to montana, sapphires of all colors are in the market. bob kane of fine gems international, helena, mont., recently purchased the entire stock of rainbow color sapphires from montana’s american gem corp.—more than 300,000 carats. kane and master gem carver glenn lehrer of lehrer designs in larkspur, calif.

Three-Stone Jewelry Guide Released

overnight mountings has released a guide to three-stone jewelry. the guide, which was created as an over-the-counter sales tool, includes a selection of rings, pendants, and earrings as well as tips on selling three-stone jewelry. for information, call (888) 731-1111.

De Beers Defends Policy Toward Small Dealers

in a meeting with representatives of the world federation of diamond bourses, de beers stressed that its “supplier of choice” strategy is not meant to harm small dealers.the wfdb recently met with de beers to address concerns that “supplier of choice” will axe small and medium units (smus) from the pipeline.

Don’t Boycott Afghan Gems

two gem experts say that boycotting gems from afghanistan will not hurt the repressive taliban government, but it will hurt opponents of the taliban.noted gem author fred ward says lapis lazuli, emeralds, ruby, aqua, spinel, tourmaline, and other gems are found in the small region that’s controlled by anti-taliban rebels.

Struggle for Gucci Ends

a two-year legal battle for ownership of gucci ended with lvmh moet hennessy louis vuitton agreeing to let retailer pinault-printemps-redoute (ppr) take control of the italian fashion house.under terms of the settlement, ppr will buy lvmh’s shares for just over $800 million, raising its stake in gucci from 42% to 53.

Robert Speisman Remembered

our industry lost a great friend in the sept. 11 tragedies when the flight robert speisman was on was hijacked and transformed into a terrorist weapon. i’d like to share one memory of the personable and decent man that he was.bob was lazare kaplan’s marketing manager and was at the center of the critical firestorm surrounding the launch of lki/ge treated diamonds three years ago.

Wittnauer Bought by Bulova; Sector Group Sold, Restructured

two more well-known watch brands—wittnauer and sector—have been sold to new owners. bulova will relaunch its newly acquired wittnauer line in early 2002, say bulova officials. the revamped and redesigned swiss watches will retail for $300 to $1,000.bulova acquired wittnauer trademarks, related inventory and receivables, and some equipment from the former wittnauer internationa…

Jck’s Exclusive Salary Survey: Surprising Changes Since 1990

what a difference a decade makes! jck has been doing its annual salary survey of the retail jewelry industry for more than 15 years, but the last 10 have seen some surprising—even dramatic—changes in salaries and benefits. here’s what we found:but the news isn’t all upbeat.the difficulties facing smaller jewelers competing with larger ones for valuable personnel have increas…

Leslie’s Named IJO Supplier of the Year

leslie’s has been awarded “supplier of the year” honors for the second consecutive year by members of the independent jewelers organization. richard swetz, ijo chairman, presented the trophy to andy ban, leslie’s president, at the general session of the fall ijo show in salt lake city.the award recognizes the ijo supplier of the year for excellence of product and quality of service.

Artisan Receives SAS Award

william frederick of chicago, ill., has been named as the recipient of the hans christensen sterling silversmith’s award, presented by the society of american silversmiths (sas). frederick was honored during silverworksiii, the society’s annual silversmithing demonstration event held in chepachet, r.

AFGEM Wins OK to Mine

afgem, the south african mining company that leases a prolific tanzanite site from the tanzanian government, has successfully fended off a legal challenge to its right to mine there. “in a unanimous decision of the full bench of the high court of the united republic of tanzania, the lawsuit faced by african gem resources limited ( ‘afgem’) has been struck off in its entirety with costs,” …

Yesterday: Tomorrow’s Big Thing

as the fashion world clings to the sleek and sexy or the bold and graphic looks that have made lariats, hoops, and sensual drop earrings so popular, clothing designers and jewelry designers are on the lookout for the next big trend. and that, say fashion forecasters, is likely to be a reincarnation of a past big trend.

WGC Attempts to Spark Global Renaissance

music, models, and ambiance were the ingredients in the world gold council’s plans to awaken the world’s fashion leaders, retailers, and—ultimately—consumers to a gold renaissance.the newly re-empowered council launched its campaign in vicenza in june but debuted it with fanfare in the united states in july.

1 Million Chronometers Certified by COSC

more than 1 million chronometers were certified in 2000 by the official swiss chronometer inspectorate (cosc), according to a report of the federation of the swiss watch industry. the exact number was 1,032,258, a 9.1% gain over 1999 and a new record.the top five brands with the most certifications, says the federation’s report, were rolex (635,209), breitling (148,380), omega (146,144), …

Obituaries

john j. christiansen, founder of john’s jewelry in south ogden, utah, passed away in late august after a battle with cancer. christiansen was the father of five, grandfather of 24, and great-grandfather of nine children. after opening his business in 1949, he became a member of both the independent jewelers organization and the intermountain jewelers association, of which he was a past pr…

Norman and Fox Announce Partnership

david r. norman and thomas s. fox have purchased grand rapids, mich.-based diamond reflections from owner oli chokr, and renamed it thomas s. fox jewelers. chokr, a wholesale and retail jeweler from sarasota, fla. told the grand rapids press he was tired of being an absentee owner and had approached fox about finding a manager or becoming a part owner.

Scott Kay Signs On with ‘Preferred Jewelers’

scott kay has signed on to be the official designer for the “preferred jewelers of the world,” sightholder w.b. david’s attempt to fashion a network of upscale retailers.kay will design jewelry that will be sold by david’s “preferred” retailers. “it has to be a style that evokes what these people stand for,” kay told jck.