November 2007

JCK’s Annual Salary Survey

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Investment Diamonds Again?

i am not sure what, if anything, diamonds have in common with pork bellies, orange juice, and soybeans. some in the industry, however, insist on trying to commoditize diamonds. i suppose there are premium pork bellies and vvs oj, and i suppose, too, that there are highly qualified experts who know one pork belly from another.

Krementz Out, Lawrence In

during a conference call on oct. 5, american gem trade association president rick krementz told the agta board of directors that, for personal reasons, he was offering his resignation. first vice chairman barbara lawrence, president of boston gems and findings inc., assumed the president’s post and will hold it through the remainder of krementz’s term, which ends in february 2009.

LVMH Exec to Head De Beers Marketing

francois delarge, a 16-year lvmh veteran, has been named ceo of de beers group marketing, the new division that will coordinate the company’s worldwide marketing efforts. (see “dtc reorganizes marketing division,” jck, september 2007, p. 56.) delarge will be responsible for “big ideas” like trilogy and journey, developing the company’s forevermark, and mainta…

New Chairman Takes Helm of IDC

stephane fischler has been named chairman of the international diamond council, the low-key body that rules on gemological and nomenclature issues. he replaces edward asscher, who has been chairman since 1990. fischler is now secretary-general and treasurer of international diamond manufacturers association and also is vice president of the antwerp world diamond centre.

You’ve Got Cash! FAQs About the De Beers Antitrust Settlement

$300,000,000—that’s how much de beers is paying to make its american legal problems go away. (see sidebar for description.) if you’re a trade member—which includes retailers—who has bought or sold diamonds over the last 13 years, you are entitled to part of that $300 million. here is how it breaks down: some $27 million is going to direct purchasers from de beers and other rou…

L.I.D. Reaches Agreement With Banks

l.i.d., which has been operating under chapter 11 since march, said its lender banks have agreed to a long-term financing agreement that will allow the new york–based diamond jewelry company to accelerate its growth plans for the foreseeable future. “we are a more viable company today, as our plan continues to exceed projections,” said l.

GIA Names H. Goldie Design Competition Winner

gia london recently named jennifer lam, a graduate of gia london’s graduate gemologist program, winner of the inaugural h. goldie jewelry design competition. lam won a £1,000 award and £500 trip to baselworld 2007. the scholarship, which is sponsored by london broker h. goldie and open to all students in gia london’s jewelry design classes, honored lam’s sea-themed oceanic design, a p…

Diamond Roundup 2007

we enter the holiday season this month and look for a satisfying end to a roller-coaster year. it’s a good time to assess conditions in the trade. i write at labor day, and, with things changing fast, what i say may be old news or just wrong! but i’ll give it a shot. the diamond business will undergo another change this month, with the diamond trading company announcing who will ge…

European Commission to Appeal Ruling on Alrosa

the european commission will likely appeal the decision that voided its prohibition of further diamond sales between de beers and alrosa, reports say. (see “court allows alrosa/de beers sales,” jck, september 2007, p. 56.) last week, the ec’s court of first instance voided a decision by the commission’s antitrust division that disallowed a proposed contract between de beers and alr…

An Ideal Book

if you want to know the history of the ideal-cut diamond, read american cut: the first 100 years, by al gilbertson, research associate for the gemological institute of america, in carlsbad, calif. it’s not only a wonderful read but also a historical treasure filled with significant discoveries that make for a compelling story about the men who created the ideal-cut round brilliant diamond.

World’s Largest Diamond?

a reported record-shattering 8,000 ct. diamond made headlines around the world—but later was revealed to be a hoax. the stone, discovered in south africa, was said to be more than double the weight of the 3,100 ct. cullinan, considered the world’s largest. the spokesman for the diamond’s owner, south african businessman brett jolly, told jck the man described it “as the most beauti…

Uprising in Burma Sparks Boycott Talk

a government crackdown on pro-democracy protests in burma has renewed debate on whether or not to enforce the ban on burmese gems. many in the colored stones industry believe a boycott of burmese gems won’t be effective, but jewelers of america supports a ban. “there’s no question that the government gets wealthy from its gem resources, but they will not suffer from a boycott,” …

4-Billion-Year-Old Diamonds Found

a startling scientific discovery has journalists proclaiming “maybe diamonds really are forever.” micro-slivers of diamonds recently discovered in western australia are 4 billion years old, or within 300 million years of the earth’s formation. these diamonds, no thicker than a hair and of no use in jewelry, are 1 billion years older than the diamonds previously thought to be the wor…

GIA New Color Reports

the gemological institute of america’s gem laboratory is offering additional services with its colored gemstone identification reports. these include expanded origin reports and an analytical report, i.e., a complete scientific examination of the gemstone. tom moses, senior vice president of gia laboratory and research, notes that the analytical reports will combine the results of a traditional…

Nirupa Bhatt Leaves Rio Tinto Amid Argyle Rumors

nirupa bhatt, longtime head of rio tinto’s india office, is leaving her post at the end of this month. announcing the shift, rio tinto diamonds’ general manager of marketing, jean-marc lieberherr, said, “i would like to emphasize at this point rio tinto diamonds’ firm commitment to its association with the indian diamond community and that the local office remains operational.

Lange & Söhne Opens Watch School for Retailers

german luxury watchmaker a. lange & söhne on july 31 opened a new watch academy—for retailers, not budding watchmakers. located in glashütte, germany, the school’s classrooms—in a building once used by the brand’s watchmaking school—grew out of guided factory tours lange & söhne has given its dealers and their staffs since the 1990s.

Citizen Will Buy Bulova for $250 Million

japanese watchmaker citizen watch co. ltd. said on oct. 5 that it will buy bulova corp. from loews corp., a new york–based conglomerate. the purchase price is $250 million, jck was told by darren daugherty, director of investor relations for loews. bulova has been a subsidiary of loews for almost 30 years.

Newswire

Half-year net sales (ended July 7) of watchmaker Fossil Inc. rose 16.8 percent to $611.3 million. Net income totaled $39.7 million (versus $21 million in 2006). Gross profit rose 17.9 percent, year over year, to $306.6 million. The Richardson, Texas, company believes innovations (introduced in 2006’s second half and early 2007) in its watch and…

Frédérique Constant Presents First Passion Awards

swiss luxury watchmaker frédérique constant presented its first live your passion awards in june in switzerland. the two winners were peter-frans pauwels, founder of tomtom, the first world supplier of gps navigation solutions, and william novick, who helped create the international children’s heart foundation, which provides cardiological treatment to sick children worldwide.

Why We Love This Business

fear not, however. the article—while its facts may be accurate—is misleading, because its criteria for “better” and “worse” jobs are tied directly to the growth opportunity in that industry, not the actual working conditions of each position. in the case of the jewelry industry, it cites the influx of mass-produced jewelry imports from overseas as the reason …

Gem Pricing Report

the september crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations in burma has sparked calls to strengthen the sanctions imposed on its military government. current law allows importation of gems mined in burma into the united states if they are cut and polished outside burma. the u.s. customs department created this loophole soon after congress enacted the burmese freedom and democracy act of 2003, whi…

Edmundo Calhau, Director of Brazil Association, Dies

edmundo calhau filho, international director of the brazilian gems and jewellery trade association (ibgm), died aug. 17 in brasília, brazil, following a battle with cancer. he was 56. calhau’s was a familiar face in the industry, especially at brazil’s semiannual feninjer jewelry shows. his efforts to promote brazilian jewelry design and the brazilian jewelry industry helped propel it beyo…

JCK’s Annual Salary Survey

the 2007 jck annual salary and job satisfaction survey drew the highest number of respondents ever, 782, from both online e-mail and mail surveys to the jck retail panel. in addition to retailers, the 2007 survey is jck’s first to include data for suppliers and other sectors of the trade as well as job satisfaction overall.

Swatch Group’s Hayek Will Develop Eco-Friendly Car Engine

swatch group chairman nicolas hayek sr., originator of the smart car concept, is taking part in a joint venture to develop a fuel-cell-powered engine for cars, a group spokesperson told jck in august. the project involves the swatch group, hayek engineering, a swiss research group called the paul scherrer institute, swiss energy company groupe e, an international bank (whose name wasn’t discl…

Swatch Group Reports ‘Excellent’ First Half

swatch group, the world’s largest watchmaker, said in august that first-half 2007 gross sales climbed 16.7 percent to $2.2 billion, led by watches and jewelry, its core business. that segment rose 20 percent, to $1.7 billion in gross sales. net sales increased 16.2 percent, with gains in all regions.

SIHH Won’t Expand or Overlap Basel

sihh (salon international de la haute horlogerie), a top luxury watch trade fair, won’t expand in 2008 and—for the first time in years—won’t coincide in 2009 with baselworld, in basel, switzerland. the august announcement came from the fondation de la haute horlogerie in geneva, which operates the annual invitation-only event.

Wyler Genève Goes Carbon Neutral

swiss watchmaker wyler genève says it’s going carbon neutral to aid the environment. the company’s annual emissions of carbon dioxide were recently assessed by the edinburgh center for carbon management at 31 tons of co2 equivalents, based on electricity and fuel oil consumption, vehicle use, business travel, commuting, and waste disposal.

Patrizzi Takes Antiquorum Operators to Court

osvaldo patrizzi, founder of antiquorum, the international fine-watch auctioneer, has filed legal actions against those who took it over and ousted him and other top officials in early august. meanwhile, an antiquorum spokesperson said it could have a permanent replacement for patrizzi by year’s end.

JCK Wins Three Awards

jck recently won two eddie awards and one ozzie award at a ceremony in new york. the eddie awards, sponsored by folio magazine, honor editorial excellence, while the ozzies honor design. gold, silver, and bronze awards are given in each category. rob bates, jck senior editor, received a gold eddie award for his article “whatever became of sierra leone?” which appeared in the octobe…

Pearls in Paradise

pearl farming is just that—farming. like grape growers tending their vineyards, different pearl growers get different results. they are, after all, raising living things. water quality, weather, nutrients, temperature, and human intervention all play a role in the final outcome, and each pearl-growing region has its own unique characteristics.

Lightning Ridge Holds Opal Design Contest

the international opal jewellery design award winners for 2007 have been announced. the biannual competition was launched in 2001 to promote and showcase freeform and undulating opal as well as cutting methods that conserve opal. the contest, held in the lightning ridge bowling club in lightning ridge, australia, is part of the annual lightning ridge opal festival.

A Blue Topaz Christmas

the gem and jewelry industry has little to worry about from irradiated blue topaz, says dr. andrew karam, adjunct professor of radiation safety at the rochester institute of technology. he says a blue topaz bracelet with 6.00 cts. of reactor-irradiated gemstones would produce a radiation dose between 700 and 800 mrem (millirems) if worn continuously for a year after being irradiated but notes t…

Newswire

Tardy Joins Scull and Co. Scull and Co. has appointed Pierre Tardy to the role of director of merchandising and store operations. Tardy will counsel Scull clients on issues relating to display and will provide on-site and competitive shopping analysis. Prior to joining Scull, Tardy spent over 25 years as chief executive officer of Christian…

An Endangered Species: The Independent Sales Rep

today, independent jewelry reps are leaving the road by the “caratful.” to earn income that covers our growing expenses, we either have to expand our territories or carry more merchandise. we have to juggle appointments and schedule appointments with overbooked store owners. statistics gathered by jewelers security alliance comparing 2005 to 2006 indicate that although criminal even…

Time to Vote!

the time has come for the retailers of america to cast their votes in the first annual jck jewelers choice awards. as the name suggests, these are the first industry design awards voted on exclusively by retailers. we’ve launched the competition to celebrate good design. it’s our hope that taking the time to vote will both entertain and inform you, our retail readers, as you explore…

Uncle John Wants You!

a national campaign to create hundreds of local crime-prevention networks of jewelers and police has been launched by jewelers’ security alliance, in partnership with jewelers of america and jewelers mutual insurance. members of local networks share information on crimes, suspects, and crime prevention and work with local police to reduce crimes against jewelers.

Zale Sells Bailey Banks & Biddle to Finlay

zale corp. has sold the 175-year-old upscale bailey banks & biddle store chain, which it has owned for 45 years, to finlay fine jewelry corp. for $200 million. the purchase, plus an inventory adjustment, was expected to close by the end of october, according to finlay. finlay hailed the purchase as a “landmark” transaction, noting it almost triples the stand-alone jewelry stor…

The Right Media

not long ago, reputation and location were all that most jewelry-store owners needed to attract prospective customers. while these are still bedrocks for success, the jewelry world has become hypercompetitive with new internet players and big box retailers entering the market. at the same time, the media landscape has become increasingly fragmented, with a proliferation of new channels such as …

Brand-Building Negotiations

many of my clients have improved their margins by as much as 5 percent in a year by strengthening the negotiating skills of their sales associates. and that has helped them build trust in their brand and prices. the fact is, you can make a sale while hurting your brand in the eyes of the purchaser. improving how you negotiate can actually make customers feel better about shopping at your store …

Expand Your Mind to Expand Your Business

it’s almost the time of year for top 10 lists and articles on new year’s resolutions to begin appearing, so i’ve combined those two notions to create a reading list that will, i hope, open new paths and stimulate you to rethink your approach to the jewelry business. or, as industry analyst ken gassman is fond of saying, “are you in the jewelry business or the business of jewelry?” …

Meet the Press

even if you’re right at home talking to a customer over the counter, you may freeze up or start babbling the moment someone says “press.” but a press interview is an opportunity to put your company in the public eye, says caroline stanley, president and chief executive officer of red jewel inc.

Trend Alert

fruit motifs are in season for the jewelry industry. fruit is a logical (and organic) choice for a group with a clear affinity for nature (see trend alert, jck, october 2007, p. 62, and march 2007, p. 72). selections on this sweet menu include summertime favorites, tropical treats, citrus varieties, and more, as designers pay tribute to the botanical victuals your mother urged you to eat.