November 1, 2002

What a Difference a Year Makes


the jewelry industry is competitive at every level. it’s also fragmented. there are many producers and many retailers. no one dominates this business; there are always alternatives. serve the market, serve the client, or go out of business. competition, therefore, is a very good thing if you are a client or a customer.

Obituary: Barrie Drummond Birks

barrie drummond birks of montreal passed away on aug. 13 at the age of 54 following a battle with cancer. birks served as chairman and ceo of shreve, crump & low co. ltd. of boston, leading the management teams at the firm’s boylston street and chestnut hill locations. birks held a bachelor’s degree from mcgill university and an mba from the university of western ontario.


the queen of soul, aretha franklin, performed at the u.s. capitol this summer, sparkling before the star-spangled banner in no less than 160 cts. of diamond jewelry by the vivid collection. part of an especially poignant july 4th concert in the nation’s capital, franklin’s music roused the crowd while her jewelry wardrobe—including a 58-ct.

New Silver Cleaning Product Debuts

a recently introduced product, mrs. cooper’s silver wipes, are disposable wipes that are saturated with a silcone-based, non-toxic polishing agent. a box contains 24 dry wipes, and, according to the manufacturer, a silver flatware service for 12 can be polished with two wipes. for information, call (312) 266-8729 or visit www.

Gem Artist Web Site Launched

“the building of the foundation for the creative gem art in this country will have an exciting, attractive, and comprehensive documentation of the gem artist and their work,” says gem artist elizabeth beunaiche. she and a small team of other gem artists have created, a web site slated to go online last month.

W.A.C. Lighting Expands

w.a.c. lighting is implementing a major expansion—more than doubling the size of its facilities in china; city of industry, calif.; and garden city, n.y. the company is a designer and manufacturer of track, recessed, and under-cabinet lighting. in china, w.a.c. has completed a new 130,000-sq.-ft.

Fashion Industry Fights AIDS

when top designers like donna karan and diane von furstenburg teamed up to help raise funds for design industries foundation fighting aids, platinum jewelry guru scott kay was close at hand. kay, known in part for his celebrity-related promotions and charity work, donated a $3,000 handcrafted platinum toggle necklace with diamonds.

ValueVision Files Defensive Lawsuit Against Vendor

in a lengthy and bitter retailer-vs.-supplier dispute, valuevision media has filed a defensive lawsuit against d.g. jewelry and two of its top executives. the suit, filed in late august in the u.s. district court for the district of minnesota, seeks a declaratory judgment confirming that the parties’ december 2001 agreement of settlement and release of all claims is valid and binding.

EGL-USA is Moving

egl-usa is moving its headquarters from 47th street to a larger location around the corner at 6 w. 48th st. the lab will occupy two floors of a newly renovated building that is home to other jewelry companies. according to egl-usa director mark gershburg, the new space is three times larger than egl-usa’s former facilities and will have twice as many service windows.

De Beers, Anglo Provide AIDS Drugs to Miners

de beers has announced that it will provide anti-retroviral treatment to its workers, a response to the high rates of aids infection in south africa and botswana. the company estimates that as much as 12% of its workforce is hiv positive. the program will begin in january 2003. de beers will pay 90% of the expenses associated with the program, with participants expected to pick up the other 10%.


michael anthony jewelers inc., a marketer and manufacturer of gold jewelry, has named claudia hollingsworth as its new president. hollingsworth recently resigned as chief customer officer of m.z. berger & co. inc., a major distributor of elgin, gruen, and benrus watches. george prout has been appointed president, independent division of designworks jewelry group (formerly o.

JCK Industry Fund Seeks Grant Requests

jck magazine and the jck shows will be accepting applications for grants for the annual jck industry fund through dec. 15. the program distributes $400,000 annually to individuals, groups, or associations. to be considered for a grant, applicants must submit formal written proposals in writing to jck magazine and the jck shows.

Centurion Show Announces 2003 Plans

the centurion jewelry by invitation only trade show recently announced its dates and full roster of exhibitors for 2003. the show is scheduled for a second year at the westin la paloma resort & spa in tucson, ariz., feb. 2-6, 2003. the show’s dates are designed to allow retailers to enjoy centurion, visit the tucson gem shows, and get back into their stores by the friday before valentine’s …

Hänni Addresses Bulk Diffusion

sapphires subjected to the bulk diffusion treatment developed in chanthaburi, thailand, had levels of beryllium far higher than natural or traditionally heated sapphire, according to research conducted by dr. henry a. hänni, director of the ssef swiss gemological institute in basel, switzerland.

Ames Liquidation Renews Concerns About Regional Chains

regional chain store retailing received another blow recently with the announcement that ames department stores is going out of business. the rocky hill, conn.-based discount chain said in mid-august that it would close all 327 of its locations after struggling under chapter 11 bankruptcy protection since august 2001—its second bankruptcy filing in a decade.

AJDC Announces 2003 Talent Contest

the american jewelry design council is accepting applications for its annual talent contest, a high-profile competition that has launched the careers of several past winners. the winner is awarded a booth in the new designer gallery at the july jewelers of america show in new york city. in addition, the winner receives professional support from members of the ajdc on making the step to larger m…

Reuge Music Wins Award for Best Web Site Design

reuge music s.a., a swiss manufacturer of handcrafted music boxes and musical objets d’art, has been awarded a fleur de lis award for “best web site design” from the international press association (ipa). veteran journalist and ipa president bill singer made a special trip to sainte-croix, switzerland, to present the award to reuge management.

Obituary: Former JCK Columnist Al Jaffe, 86

alfred saunders jaffe, a sales and marketing expert known within the jewelry industry for his innovative ideas, passed away on aug. 14. he was 86. many of the sales promotion and marketing programs jaffe created are still being used today. during world war ii, jaffe served in the u.s. army and took part in the allied invasion of normandy.


one of the most popular jewelry design styles—one that never seems to go away for more than a few years without a resurgence—is back in the spotlight for 2003. art deco jewelry, which made a name for itself nearly a century ago, is showing its endurance as designers and manufacturers rediscover the beauty of its clean lines, bold styling, and geometric forms.

Gem and Jewelry Art at the Carnegie Museum

the carnegie museum of pittsburgh is hosting its fifth annual gem and mineral show nov. 21-24. the show will again feature the works of the gem artists of north america (gana), with a special spotlight on the north american gem carvers (nagc), which this year is focusing on making jewelry with gem art.


in “diamond branding explodes,” sept. 2002, jck should have noted that, at press time, sirius diamonds was 100% owned by its president, stephen ben-oliel, although negotiations were under way for the sale of a minority interest in sirius to e. schreiber. it also should have noted that sirius’s diamonds have been marketed in the united states since january 1999.

ICA Renews Lab Alerts

attention, gemological laboratories, independent gemologists, members of the colored gemstone and jewelry industries and trade: the international colored gemstone association (ica) is set to renew distribution of its “ica lab alerts.” the alerts are designed to provide members of the international gemological, colored gemstone, and jewelry sectors with new and important information regarding th…

James B. White, Former JSA President, Dies at 82

james b. white, a former longtime president of the jewelers’ security alliance, died sept. 6 following a brief hospitalization. he was 82. white led jsa from 1965 until 1992, a period of change and growth for the group, as there was a growing awareness of security issues within the industry. “jim was a giant of this industry, a great man who commanded huge respect and admiration,” said john j.

Atlanta Jewelry Show Attendance Up 18%

the 2002 atlanta jewelry show experienced a record 18% increase in attendance over the 2001 event, according to the southern jewelry travelers association (sjta), which sponsors the show. the august event, held at the cobb galleria centre, also featured the new american gem trade association (agta) gemfair south pavilion, agta’s first southeastern event.

Man, Oh, Man!

some say it’s because the casual era is coming to a close; others believe the younger generation simply has a taste for finer things. whatever the reason, fine jewelry and accessories for men are selling better than ever. while an overwhelming percentage of any jeweler’s merchandise is targeted toward women, manufacturers and designers continue to produce innovative pieces aimed at attracting t…

Online Marketing Tool for Jewelers recently launched gflink, a marketing tool for jewelry retailers. although is a b2b site, it provides an online service for retailers who wish to showcase and sell diamonds to the public. it offers retail jewelers more than 30,000 certified diamonds to showcase as their own, with features such as mark-up capability and an elaborate search engine, all through personalized…

Rest in (a Jewelry) Piece: Deriving Diamonds From the Dead

we’ve all heard of man-made diamonds. but never before have we had diamonds made of man. lifegem is an acro, ill.-based company that manufactures synthetic diamonds from the cremated remains of deceased loved ones or pets. the company uses a patented process that takes the carbon out of cremated remains, then subjects it to heat and pressure until it becomes diamond.

Madagascar Sapphire

in the indian ocean, off the coast of southeastern africa, across from mozambique and northeast of the republic of south africa lies madagascar, the fourth-largest island in the world. (only greenland, new guinea, and borneo are bigger.) inhabited by 16 million people spread out over roughly 225,000 square miles, it’s known mostly for vanilla and coffee, but its wealth of gem deposits may chang…

GemEx Unveils New Web Site

gemex systems inc. recently launched “the science of beauty,” a diamond marketing web site. designed to support and recruit select authorized jewelers, the new interactive site ( provides password-protected sales and marketing features and benefits such as training, advertising, and promotional materials as well as public relations support.

GIA Memorial Honors ‘Father of Modern Gemology’

on aug. 24, 2002, nearly 500 family members, colleagues, and admirers from across the united states and around the world gathered at the gemological institute of america (gia) in carlsbad, calif., to honor richard t. liddicoat—”the father of modern gemology”—who passed away july 23. the observance began in the atrium with a display of memorabilia and documents (left) depicting liddi…

Trade Lives: Carat Top

most diamond companies include some variation of the shmoozer and the producer. the producer is the “inside” guy who oversees the manufacturing of the diamonds; the shmoozer is the “outside guy” who markets and sells them. by virtue of their personalities, it’s the schmoozer who generally gets the publicity and recognition.

Diamond Dealer Pleads Guilty to Fraud Charges

larry kar, a 47th street diamond dealer and president of worldwide gem ventures, recently pleaded guilty to one charge of defrauding investors and another of defrauding a bank. he was due to be sentenced sept. 19, according to eric a. tirschwell, assistant u.s. attorney for the eastern district of new york.

Philanthropist Supports Academic Jewelry Program

maggie allesee, a well-known detroit-area philanthropist, selected kendall college of art and design of ferris state university, grand rapids, mich., as the recipient of a $250,000 commitment to support an undergraduate (bfa) program in jewelry and precious metals design. the allesee metals/jewelry design program will prepare graduates for careers in an industry that requires an understanding o…

Designer Teams with American Heart Association

denver-based jewelry designer john atencio recently joined forces with a charity organization in a project that tied together emotions left from both the death of the designer’s father and the tragedy of sept. 11, 2001. like many designers, atencio was inspired to create message jewelry that honored victims lost to the terrorist attacks.

Victorinox Completes Acquisition of Swiss Army Brands

victorinox ag has successfully acquired almost all of the outstanding shares of swiss army brands inc. (sabi), the shelton, conn., distributor of swiss army brand watches, effective aug. 26, the company announced. as reported earlier by jck, sue rechner—who led the successful u.s. relaunch of swiss army brand watches and developed victorinox swiss army watch sa (vsa) into a going concern…

New Swiss ‘Watch Quality’ Seal Offered

a new quality mark guaranteeing the quality and accuracy of fine watches will be launched in the swiss watch industry this year. unlike two other swiss quality seals, the new “qualité fleurier” seal will be available to any european watch brand that meets its strict criteria, and it will apply to both the movement and components of a watch.

What a Difference a Year Makes

no one could have predicted that the second year of the new millennium would turn out the way it did. it began with the promise that the economic engine that drove the creation of wealth during the ’90s would continue to roar—or at least run on autopilot. optimism, however, was soon replaced with the sober reality that the country was in recession.

A&A and Michael Anthony Seal Deal

a&a jewelers, buffalo, n.y., has acquired the operating assets of the family jewelry and special order jewelry division of michael anthony jewelers, mt. vernon, n.y. at the same time, michael anthony has acquired the gold jewelry and hollow rope division of a&a jewelers. the transactions include inventory, models and molds, displays and fixtures, and manufacturing equipment.

Swarovski Pin Aids Fight Against Breast Cancer

the world’s largest manufacturer of full-cut crystal is helping women fight breast cancer by donating $20,000 from the sale of its newest item, the pink hope pin, to the libby ross foundation. swarovski’s contribution is earmarked specifically for yoga workshops for survivors of breast cancer and other women’s cancers as well as for the pink ribbon gift bag program.

Fashion Protocol

piaget recently teamed with chong hing jewelers, los angeles, to host a fashion show in honor of the luxury brand’s new fine jewelry and miss protocole watch line. miss protocole features interchangeable straps that vary according to hot fashion trends. “the fashion show was a great way to illustrate the versatility of the miss protocole watch and reinforce piaget as a fashion brand for both w…

Swatch Group Income Down in First Half

the swatch group, the world’s largest watchmaker, posted net income of 206 million swiss francs ($136.2 million) for 2002’s first half, a 13.1% drop from last year’s figures. a major reason for the drop, the company says, was the “negative effect” of the rising value of the swiss franc on worldwide earnings when converted to swiss currency.

JNet Helps Jewelers Establish Web Presence

jnet offers services to members of jewelers of america (ja) and manufacturing jewelers and suppliers of america (mjsa) to create web sites, build online catalogs, and transact business electronically. options include jnet silver, which allows jewelers to create and customize their own web sites with contact information and basic content.

COSC Sets Record for Chronometers

the swiss official chronometer testing institute (controle officiel suisse des chronometres, or cosc) certified 1,255,515 mechanical and quartz chronometers in 2001—a 23.3% increase over the previous year’s figure and a new record. the total number of watches registered for testing rose to 1,315,752.

Rebuilding Glashütte

the watchmakers of glashütte, germany, are again producing the prestigious timepieces for which they are renowned, but with losses in the millions, it will be a long time before it’s business as usual in this flood-ravaged town. glashütte, a valley town of 2,500 residents, is located in the erz mountains south of dresden, in the german state of saxony.

Survey Shows Buyers Like JCK Las Vegas Show

in a recent survey, jewelry buyers named the jck show ~ las vegas as the most popular business venue for the jewelry industry. the study, commissioned by reed exhibitions and conducted by a third-party research firm, showed that 72% of show attendees were “completely satisfied” or “very satisfied” with the event.

AGTA GemFair Tucson 2003

agta gemfair tucson, the world’s largest and most comprehensive display of natural colored gemstones, cultured pearls, and designer jewelry, is slated for feb. 5-10 at the tucson convention center in tucson, ariz. more than 10,000 buyers from north america and around the world are expected to visit the show, where more than 400 exhibitors will display gemstones and cultured pearls, from the mo…

De Beers’ Sales Up, But Profits Down

sales soared but profits plunged for de beers in the first half of 2002. de beers’ rough diamond sales during the first six months of 2002 jumped 8.5% to $2.8 billion, up from $2.62 billion in 2001. at the same time, however, income dropped nearly 60% to $261 million, down from $633 million the year before.

Vicious Circles

last september, president bush asked americans to keep shopping. it was our patriotic duty. attractive pricing and financing helped sell thousands of automobiles and other big-ticket goods. by waving the flag in one hand and a visa card in the other, we’d show those b***ards who would come out on top.

IGI Receives Marketing Award

the international gemological institute (igi) recently received the 2002 jewellery world expo award for best marketing. igi used this year’s jewellery world expo, a trade show serving canada’s fine-jewelry market, to publicize and launch the opening of its newest diamond laboratory in toronto. to celebrate the lab’s opening, igi hosted a champagne and strawberry reception for all show attendees…

AGS Lab Offers Discounts for ‘Preferred Clients’

a new “preferred clients” loyalty program established by the american gem society laboratories (agsl) will provide discounted diamond-grading prices to customers. agsl offers cumulative annual volume pricing to preferred clients. tiered levels of pricing are offered based on the number of carats sent to the grading lab, beginning with 500 carats.

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