November 1, 2004

Jewelry Pay Lost Some Glitter in 2003

Gem Hunting and Carrying the Explorer’s Flag

gary bowersox, the “american gem hunter in afghanistan,” has returned from another gem-hunting expedition to central asia. for more than 30 years, bowersox has been venturing into the ruby, emerald, and lapis mines of afghanistan. this time, bowersox’s central asian expedition was recognized as an “official flag trip” by harry brooks, chair of the flag and honors division for the explorer’s club.


three large pieces of teal-color rough stand out in this image of apatite, furnished by l. allen brown of all that glitters, methuan, mass. these natural-color northern madagascar gems have a total weight of approximately 138 cts. heat-treated neon melee, two round brilliant blues from southern madagascar, weigh .

Glass-Filled Fractures in Ruby—Like Diamond

the sept. 3 edition of the gübelin gem lab (ggl) newsletter announced that “lead-filled rubies” were entering the market. according to the newsletter, “the clarity enhancement of ruby with a lead-based filler might now be considered noted in heat-treated rubies. heat-treated rubies filled with a lead-glass substance, intended to improve the clarity, were submitted to the lab for testing.

Swatch Group Has 16.7% Half-Year Income Gain

the swatch group, the world’s largest watchmaker, posted a 16.7% gain to $170.5 million in half-year net income. its aug. 24 report cited strong sales in luxury watches in the united states and asia and heavy marketing of its role as the 2004 olympic games’ timekeeper as contributing reasons. the swiss conglomerate sells 18 brands covering all major price segments of the watch market as well as…

TRAX Develops Two Products for Retailers

trax, a software company based in houston, has developed two software products for retailers. traxsales software analyzes showroom floor information. using a remote traffic sensor, it automatically counts traffic entering a store on an hourly, daily, weekly, and monthly basis, separating customer from non-customer traffic.

A Revival of the Revivalists

one of the distinguishing characteristics of the 19th century was a reverence for the past. this was the age of the grand tour, when the popular imagination was sparked by visions of antiquity, the middle ages, and the renaissance as the refined upper classes returned home bursting with information and purchases from their trips abroad.

Charles & Colvard Relocates

moissanite producer charles & colvard ltd. has relocated its headquarters to 300 perimeter park, morrisville, n.c. a company statement said the 4,000 square feet of additional space will accommodate expansion of the work force and allow the company to grow to a $100 million-plus business. for more information, visit www.

Break Even, Part I: The Cup Theory of Profitability

there are two ways to generate profit: you can simply go from day to day and hope it happens, or you can identify the primary “drivers” of profitability—and manage them. sadly, far too many jewelers opt for the “jump and hope” approach, even though the managed approach offers so many advantages.

Obituary: William Twichell, 47

william (bill) twichell, a 17 year employee of gbc inc. of boston (formerly gordon brothers) died in august following a brief battle with cancer. he was 47 years old. twichell started his jewelry career with keepsake/artcarved and joined gbc in 1987. in the 90’s he was new england territory representative and most recently served as gbc’s director of sales and marketing.

Solar-Wind Gems Take the Plunge

the return mission of the genesis solar wind project ended up in a heaping pile in the utah desert on sept. 8. the genesis capsule was launched three years and one month earlier on aug. 8, 2001. its mission: to capture samples of solar wind particles on passive collectors made from ultra-pure wafers of float-zone silicon, czochralski-grown silicon, single-crystal synthetic sapphire, epitaxial-s…

H’RATCH Trademarks Slogan

designs by h’ratch, new york city, recently trademarked the statement “white remains white.” the company’s 18k white gold jewelry does not need to be rhodium plated and is guaranteed not to turn yellow. for more information call (877) hratch2

Michigan, Alabama Jewelers Hit by Scandals

two local independent jewelers are in hot water for alleged stone-switching. in killen, ala., craig jewelers has been the subject of three investigative stories on station waff in huntsville, charging the store with selling cubic zirconia misrepresented as a diamond, and switching an elderly woman’s 18k wedding ring for a 10k ring.

Obituary: Leslie Ban, Leslie’s Founder

leslie ban, founder of leslie’s, passed away in august at his home in new york. he was 93 years old. born in hungary, he immigrated with his wife and children to the united states after the hungarian revolution of 1956. he survived the holocaust and the communist regime and lived as a true example of the “american dream.

Mirabelle Launches Cruise Campaign

mirabelle is launching an ad campaign aboard the ships of cruise lines including disney cruises, royal caribbean, crystal cruises, and sun cruise lines. the on-board campaign will feature mirabelle’s various jewelry lines, including players club, mirabelle 18k and diamond/precious stones handbags, and flower power.

WGC Speaks Gold

taking its “speak gold” advertising efforts to the next level, the world gold council has unveiled a $6 million holiday ad campaign that aims to stimulate consumer demand for gold jewelry in the united states. the two-part campaign, which features both generic ads aimed at emotional response and more product-specific ads that focus on wgc’s manufacturing partners, carries the tagline “there’s o…

Jewelers Mutual Announces Dividend

commercial policyholders of jewelers mutual insurance got a $5.2 million dividend in august—the largest in the company’s 91-year history. jmi, headquartered in neenah, wis., is the only u.s. insurer specializing in jewelry and jewelers and also is the nation’s largest jewelry insurer. the payout was due to exceptional financial results for 2003, a “solid, successful year,” said ron harde…

‘Engaging’ Book Debuts This Month

with this ring, a new book by award-winning jewelry historians and authors penny proddow and marion fasel, is set to be released nov. 15. ripe with romance and fascinating facts, the book covers all aspects of wedding jewelry, from the history of engagement rings to how to choose a ring. the book is divided into three chapters.

RJO Donates More Than $6,000 to JFC

the retail jewelers organization (rjo) has donated $6,300 to jewelers for children. funds were raised at charity events held during the rjo fall buying show in covington, ky., july 24-27. a portion of the funds came from a silent auction. members bid on a variety of donated items, including jewelry, vacation packages, and golf bags.

JA Welcomes New Board Members

jewelers of america recently welcomed five new members to its board of directors. joining the ja board are jeffrey corey of days jewelers, waterville, maine; william farmer jr. of farmer’s jewelry, lexington, ky.; merritt mayher of shreve, crump & low, boston, mass., and schwarzchild’s jewelers, richmond, va.

Jewelry Pay Lost Some Glitter in 2003

according to jck’s annual salary survey, the year 2003 wasn’t a very good one for many working in u.s. retail jewelry stores. almost every job category posted a decline from 2002 in both median base pay and total pay, with the biggest drop (–21%) felt by salespeople. the only exceptions were top execs (owners, presidents, chief executive officers), whose median pay was unchanged, and offi…

Leading Jewelers of the World Hosts Membership Conference

leading jewelers of the world held its second membership conference on july 21-23 at the rye town hilton hotel in rye, n.y. members networked with each other and participated in educational programs in public relations, advertising, marketing, sales, and customer care. during the conference, philip nulman, ceo of the nulman group, the parent company of fdn&p advertising, marketing and publ…

JCK Moves Offices to New York City

after more than 70 years in pennsylvania—first in philadelphia, then in suburban bala cynwyd, radnor, and king of prussia—jck magazine is moving back to new york city. it will be moving to the corporate headquarters of its parent company, reed business information, 360 park ave. south, 15th floor, new york, ny 10010.

Fund-raiser Set for Stricken Jeweler

a fund-raiser/silent auction will be held wednesday, nov. 10, to benefit kinga marjai, master jeweler for designer alex sepkus, who was stricken with spinal meningitis in june 2003. the benefit will take place at b.b. king’s blues club in new york city and will feature a silent auction of fine jewelry, watches, and other luxury items from such notables as john hardy, david yurman, roberto coin,…

Fashion Week Roundup:

the spring/summer 2005 fashion week in new york not only provided a snapshot of trends for the coming season but also previewed a future in which fine jewelry and fashion are considerably more co-dependent. though no new trends for spring emerged as powerfully as the brooch did last season, the continuation of ladylike designs keeps the focus on embellishment via brooches, layers of gold or pea…

JA Moves Forward With Corporate Responsibility

the ja board of directors has approved three elements of its corporate responsibility initiative: the development of self-assessment and training tools and policy and procedure reviews for ja member jewelers, the implementation of the ja supplier code of conduct, and collaboration with leading international corporate and institutional bodies.


j-bar course should be discontinued thank you for your september 2004 issue on j-bar. in my opinion, the j-bar course does not need to be rewritten, it needs to be discontinued. several of your contributors to this article cite the cost of professional appraisal courses as being a reason to take the j-bar open-book test and consider yourself to be competent to appraise jewelry.


prismax, the u.s. distributor for the hot diamonds brand of sterling silver and diamond jewelry, has hired shawn stockman to fill the newly created position of chief marketing officer. stockman has 15 years of marketing experience in various industries. april scorcia has been appointed executive vice president of the ladies’ jewelry division of the colibri group.

The Indian Jewelry Market Comes of Age

much has been said about india’s rapid rise to dominance in the diamond industry, but it’s probably best illustrated by some statistics recently offered by de beers managing director gary ralfe. ralfe told analysts that while 1 million people are employed in the indian industry, there are fewer than 50,000 diamond workers in the entire rest of the world.

JCK First to Sponsor GIA’s Symposium

jck magazine became the first sponsor of the gemological institute of america’s (gia) fourth international gemological symposium by contributing $100,000 to help support the event, scheduled for aug. 27-29, 2006, in san diego. symposium will include seminars, demonstrations, and forums featuring key figures from within and outside the gem industry.

Three More Diamond District Jewelers Busted for Money Laundering

there has been another money laundering bust on 47th street. this time, three local businessmen—ebrahim raphael, hamid delshad of princess gold manufacturers, and yitzcok hirschfeld of intense and vivid—were arrested for allegedly laundering $1.5 million in drug proceeds. a federal indictment alleges the trio disguised money earmarked for south american drug lords by falsely clai…

JVC: Diamond Undercarating Widespread

a jewelers vigilance committee undercover operation found widespread undercarating of diamond jewelry at retail—with the worst offenders exaggerating their pieces’ total weights by as much as 50%. jvc bought 55 pieces from stores of all types—ranging from high-end to jewelry exchange—and found undercarating in 24 of them.

South African President to Address Diamond Conference

thabo mbeki, the president of south africa, will deliver the keynote address at the november 2004 antwerp diamond conference. the conference will examine the issue of consumer confidence in natural diamonds—particularly the marketing, legal, and scientific issues surrounding gem-quality synthetics.

P.R. Pioneers Honored

lloyd jaffe and manny cohen, the two guiding forces behind the american diamond industry association, for years america’s preeminent diamond public relations group, were honored recently by the diamond manufacturers and importers association of america. dmia president ronald j. friedman presented the pair with a plaque that recognized their work in “promoting the highest ideals of honesty and i…

J-BAR Resource Directory Distributed

the jewelers board of appraisal review, j-bar, has announced the launch of the j-bar resource directory. to date, j-bar has distributed the directory to nearly 200 users of appraisal services including lawyer organizations, appraisers, and insurance companies as well as consumer protection bureaus and state attorney general offices.

Mixing Things Up

like an army changing its official uniform, fashionistas everywhere are systematically eliminating black from their wardrobes. considering how long the black trend lasted—and how pervasive it was—the idea of pruning such a wardrobe standby seems almost radical. but designers have enforced the idea for the coming season by launching fall and winter clothes in rich, vibrant colors.

Canada Examines ‘Diamond Tourism’

canada’s northwest territories wants to turn its diamond-producing areas into tourist attractions. “it’s being strongly looked at,” says martin irving, director of diamond projects for the northwest territories. “there is certainly interest in it from all the stakeholders, everyone from the miners to the retailers.

Israel’s Leviev Group Takes Control of Canadian Factory

adding yet another local diamond factory to its quickly expanding portfolio, israel’s leviev group has purchased sirius diamonds, one of the first companies to manufacture diamonds in canada’s northwest territories. the deal represents the first canadian involvement for the leviev group. with estimated revenue of $2.

Standing Out in the Crowd

symbols such as the nike “swoosh,” the coca-cola logo, and the tiffany blue box are immediately recognizable to consumers on both an intellectual and emotional level, and each immediately sets the product apart from its competitors. but how does one achieve that stature? “it’s a process,” says andrew sacks of agencysacks, a new york advertising agency that specializes in luxury brands.


“expect more, pay less,” the slogan for target stores, has successfully catapulted the discount retailer to its position as the nation’s leading purveyor of cheap chic. the slogan is a great draw for shoppers who want popular designs at a lower price than they’ve seen in the malls—but more importantly, the slogan works because the retailer delivers on what it promises.

On Guard on 47th Street

if you go to 47th street in new york these days, you’ll notice a lot that’s different. it used to be that simple ids got you into a building, but now they often have to be backed up by phone calls that vouch for visitors. more buildings require you to walk through metal detectors. and if that doesn’t remind you enough of an airport, 580 fifth ave.

Editorial Integrity

at this moment, the “docu-drama” surrounding cbs’s handling of forged documents pertaining to president bush’s military service continues to be the talk of the consumer media. not too long ago, the venerable new york times had an integrity crisis of its own when one of its reporter fictionalized news stories that were published in the times as factual news stories.

Movado Group Posts Strong Half-Year Gains

the movado group, headquartered in paramus, n.j., on sept. 8 announced strong half-year and second-quarter results. the results include the impact of the ebel luxury watch business, acquired march 1, 2004. in the first half, net sales rose 25.8% to $172 million, up from $136.7 million the prior year.

Smart Marketing Move

recently jck reported that sissy jones, ceo of sissy’s log cabin in pine bluff, ark., mails postcards to customers whenever she’s on a buying trip at the jck show ~ las vegas, inviting them to view new lines in the store when she returns. (see business report, jck, october 2004, p. 62.) jones isn’t the only jeweler to do so: michael george, m.

Dealer: Don’t Be Scared of Fancy Colors

the world of fancy colored diamonds is not as intimidating as some think, dealer marc lazar told a seminar on the topic at the recent diamonds by jck show in new york. “when you come down to it, fancy colored diamonds are pretty simple,” he said. “once you learn the terminology and become sensitive to the nuances of these diamonds, you’ll wonder why you didn’t look into them earlier … fa…

PGI-USA Relocates West Coast Office

as part of a bicoastal strategy, platinum guild international-usa, the u.s. marketing arm for the worldwide platinum industry, relocated its california office in august. the office, in south coast metro, will continue to handle manufacturer and retailer trade relations, educational programs, trade-show/event management, technical support, it functions, fulfillment, and the company’s financial f…

Nobel Plans ‘Significant Expansion’

nobel watch co., which makes and sells mid- and luxury-priced watches, is raising capital for what it calls “significant expansion” of its business. the company, based in new york city, recently launched a private stock offering to raise more than $1 million. it’s also offering 200,000 warrants (exchangeable later for stock) to its retailers who want to invest in its growth, and it plans to go …

ULS Distributor C.E.M. Relocates

universal laser systems inc. (uls) announced the relocation of one of its distributors, c.e.m., to a larger facility in southern california at 2800 s. main st., unit c, santa ana, ca 92707. c.e.m. has been in business since 1986 and has been a uls distributor for more than 10 years. the building will accommodate new equipment for demonstrations, training classes, and improved customer service …

Windows That Wow!

jck recently asked its retail panel about successful window displays, in terms of traffic and sales generated. below are some of the suggestions from respondents:

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