November 2010

JCK Silver Spotlight: Sterling New Styles

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Art Deco Kashmir Sapphire Rings in Nearly 300K

A platinum ring with an eye-popping 8.5 ct. sapphire would excite any serious collector. But that’s not why this 1930s-era piece fetched $296,500—nearly 10 times its estimate—at Sotheby’s Sept. 28 Important Jewels sale. “While size is important, it was not the driving factor,” says Robin Wright, assistant vice president of Sotheby’s jewelry in New York…

DIAMONDS: Fancy Pinks Up for Auction; De Beers Antitrust Update

On Pink Ice It seems like the entire auction world has been thinking pink lately—pink diamonds, that is. • The gem receiving the most notice is the 24.78 ct. fancy pink gem that will be sold by Sotheby’s on Nov. 16 in Geneva. The ultra-rare stone—which received a presale estimate of $27 million to $38…

GOLD: Demand on the Rise, Says World Gold Council

Gold Crush Here’s a news flash—demand for gold is rising. One of the factors responsible: greater consumer interest in India and China, according to a new World Gold Council report. Among the market forces the WGC says are driving acquisitions: retail investment in Europe; increasing global investment demand fueled by uncertainty over debt and economic…

Gem Pricing: Going for the Gold (and Silver)

Precious metals are hot, but cost is, as always, a delicate issue Dealers report that mining remains scaled back in response to a soft marketplace. Demand is improving in the United States for diamonds and colored stones but remains weaker than prerecession levels. Consumers continue to focus on fine material in smaller sizes instead of…

From Spore to Store: Jewellery Theatre’s Magic Mushroom

Wearing a fungus on your finger probably sounds a little strange. But this isn’t the first time Moscow-based Jewellery Theatre has gone on a mushroom trip. “We have already created ‘mushroom’ rings where pearls were used for caps,” says designer Maxim Voznesensky. This one-of-a-kind 18k gold, diamond, sapphire, and tsavorite ring (price on request) is…

JCK 5: Abu Dhabi Show Stoppers

Judging from the buzz surrounding the International Jewellery and Watch Show, JWS Abu Dhabi 2010, coming to the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre Nov. 10–14, the capital of the United Arab Emirates is quickly surpassing Dubai as the Middle East’s luxury hub. The event will host 130 international luxury exhibitors from countries as far afield…

Eastern Promises

Among the gatherings on the global jewelry calendar, the JCK show in Las Vegas, the Baselworld fair in Switzerland, and the Sep­tem­ber Jewellery & Gem Fair in Hong Kong reign as the supreme triumvirate. For Asia-watchers, how­ever, Hong Kong is the event to beat. The 2010 fair, held Sept. 19–25 at the AsiaWorld-Expo and the…

JCK Silver Spotlight: Sterling New Styles

The economy spurred the silver renaissance but great designs are its fuel Above:Linked In Sterling silver basket-weave bracelet with 0.54 ct. t.w. diamonds; $2,150; Alisa Designs, Manalapan, N.J.; 888-253-6600; alisadesigns.com   The New GuardOne-of-a-kind Body Armor Shin Guard in fire-blasted sterling silver with leather laces; $16,000 (custom order); K. Brunini Jewels, Solana Beach, Calif.; 858-259-8779;…

JCK Silver Spotlight: Silver Streak

Retailers who specialize in silver weigh in on the lines their customers love. When the economy went south two years ago, silver jewelry became a beacon of hope for retailers scrambling to make sales. After all, consumer spending may have weakened, but the desire to shop was strong as ever. In this post-recession, pre-recovery mindset,…

Retail Roundup: Family Matters

Turning the store over to junior? Putting siblings on the payroll? Beware these pitfalls when kin convene on the job. While all companies face challenges, family-owned businesses have greater risks. Personal dynamics add a layer of complexity to professional relationships, and topics like job descriptions or succession may go unaddressed because of unspoken assumptions. JCK…

Retail Roundup: The Answer Man

Ken Gassman, the industry’s chief prognosticator, takes stock of sales, staffing, and salaries. These are turbulent times for jewelers, and though some glimmers of hopeful news have emerged, there’s still a pall of uncertainty over the industry. JCK turned to Ken Gassman, founder of Glen Allen, Va.’s ­Jewelry Industry Research Institute, for a big-picture view…

Retail Roundup: Counter Culture

Reports From America’s Retail Trenches For JCK’s annual Retail issue, we scoured the country for store ­owners who offer a snapshot of the American jewelry industry. From the colored-diamond evangelist to the woman who helped put David Yurman on the map to a man who was brave enough to jump into the business in the…

Elizabeth Taylor in White Diamonds (and Rubies)

In 1957, Elizabeth Taylor was swimming laps in a pool on the French Riviera when Mike Todd, her Oscar-winning producer husband, presented her with a tiny token of his affection: a Cartier ruby-and-diamond suite. “Since there was no mirror around, I had to look into the water,” the actress wrote in her 2002 book, My…

JCK 5: Enamel Makes a Comeback

Plentiful and pretty—though by no means cheap (in appearance or price)—glass is yet another way to add color to jewelry. Among designers, the rare and sumptuous art is making a comeback. From the vitreous, stained-glass-like varieties of plique-à-jour to the artful and light-filled application of guilloche engraved surface enameling, painting with heated glass powder composites…

Untapped Human Resources

Don’t worry about employees running amok online—worry if they don’t The industry’s embrace of social media has helped us augment our branding efforts, but are we leveraging all the available options? Encouraging your employees—especially those who are advocates for your store or brand—to speak out is an effective and inexpensive way to spread the word.…

Innovative Retailer: Lauray’s Diamond Center’s Mark Fleischner

It takes more than a four-ton pickup to dampen this store owner’s spirits. There’s nothing like an emergency to fast-track business changes. Mark Fleischner and his wife, Patti, had been planning a series of physical and operational upgrades to ­Lauray’s Diamond Center, starting with a restoration of the store’s historic building site. But in late…

Store We Adore: Erie Basin

388 Van Brunt St., Brooklyn, N.Y. It’s no easy feat making it to the Red Hook section of Brooklyn, but it’s worth the trek for a visit to the 4-year-old Erie Basin. Named for the old waterway that leads into the Gowanus Canal, the 500-square-foot shop is a treasure trove of unusual antiques—from an amethyst…

Seven Must-Read Last-Minute Holiday Sales Tips

It’s that time of year again. Are you ready for your moment in the limelight? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to recognize if there’s one time of year when a jeweler needs to be organized, it’s now, as the industry gears up for another holiday season. However, many jewelers take very little time to…

Should Social Media Be Outsourced or Kept In-House?

“I don’t want someone who doesn’t know our customers talking to our customers.” Kim Gordon, store managerJim Kryshak JewelersWausau, Wis. THE PERSONAL TOUCH: When retail jewelers outsource, most of the time it’s just content being thrown on a profile page. Talking about the jewelry in the store and events in the lives of our customers…

JCK 5: Emerging Technologies

1. Augmented Reality Think of it as Google superimposed over real life: Layar uses your iPhone or Android’s camera, GPS, and compass to show you information about your surroundings in real time. This could be the new Yellow Pages. 2. AR Markers Viewed via webcam, two-color icons generate graphics, sound, video, and 3-D, allowing buyers…

Strategizing for Your Store’s Future

At Stuller’s Solutions Symposium in August, the consensus was that store owners who were nimble and easily responded to cyclical economy changes were the same ones who had embraced the developments that are defining the future of retail: prototypes, younger generations, and emerging technologies. Steven Ginsberg, owner of Ginsberg Jewelers in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, has…

Citrine

Citrine, November’s birthstone, is a variety of quartz that ranges in color from pale yellow to brown. The name derives from the old French word for lemon, citrin. The gem symbolizes hope and strength and was once thought to guard against evil thoughts and snake venom. It was also used to treat urinary and kidney…

Industry & People

COMINGS AND GOINGS >>?Jacky Roth, former president of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre, has been appointed to the board of the World Diamond Council. >>?Hamida Belkadi, CEO of the U.S. division of the De Beers retail chain since 2007, is resigning at the end of 2011 to pursue other interests. A replacement had not been…

Zale Struggles to Right Ship

When Zale Corp. announced its latest financial results in September, chief executive officer Theo Killion didn’t try to spin things. “We are making progress, but we still have a long way to go,” he said. “We look forward to delivering better results.” Overall, the company lost $94 million in fiscal year 2010—a loss, but better…

Pandora IPO Charms Investors

Pandora’s initial public offering looks like a hit, with the first day covering the “base deal,” according to Reuters. The report said the Danish jewelry maker sold $2.16 billion in stock. A Pandora rep declined comment to JCK, and due to laws regarding stock transactions, the company’s prospectus cannot be viewed in the United States.…

JCK 5: Predictions for 2010 Holiday Sales

1. The Nielsen Company: Flat. “2010 holiday spending [will] closely reflect 2009 spending.” 2. Deloitte retail division: Up 2 percent. “Given the unsteady pace of economic recovery, retailers should expect only a small uptick.” 3. Kantar Retail: Up 2.5 percent. “We expect shopper demand to remain modest.” 4. National Retail Federation: Up 2.3 percent. “[That…

“Gold Rush” Raging On, Retailers Say

With the price of gold continuing to set records—$1,370 at press time—retailers say they aren’t seeing any drop in the number of gold trade-ins. Pat Coughlin of Coughlin Jewelers in St. Clair, Mich., is “amazed” at the business he’s doing. “I really thought we would see the end of it six months ago. I don’t…

Rock the Vote

It’s that time of year again…when retailers across the country are invited to vote on their favorite pieces in the JCK Jewelers’ Choice Awards! This year’s awards (our fourth annual) saw a big increase in entries, up 30 percent compared to last year. That means more wonderful product to review, vote on, and ultimately add…

10 Things Rocking the Industry

1. De Beers De Beers recently opened e-auctions conducted by subsidiary Diamdel to its clients—a major change, leading to speculation that the diamond giant plans to tender a larger part of its production. (Previously, the electronic rough sales were aimed only at non-sightholders.) Analysts predict the sales will become much more lucrative—despite the company’s insistence…