November 2011

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The People Have Spoken: JCK’s 2011 Retailer Survey

Our annual JCK Retailer Survey takes the market’s temperature in five essential categories of retail operations. How does your business stack up? For JCK’s 2011 Retailer Survey, we quizzed hundreds of retailers about their ­businesses vis-à-vis five essential categories of retail operations—Store, Stock, Sales, Staff, and Salary—and stumbled upon some intriguing findings in the process.…

JewelPops Sues Royal Chain Over Kameleon

On Sept. 1, jewelry manufacturer Jewel­Pops sued Royal Chain for allegedly copying more than 100 copyrighted Kameleon collection designs with its Karisma line, as well as adopting a similar logo, marketing materials, and accessories. The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, seeks damages, plus a court-issued restraining…

Jewel Thief Suspects Doubled as Jewelers

Three men suspected in dozens of ­jewelry thefts were arrested in Texas. In a bizarre twist, they also owned a jewelry business. According to the Houston Police Department, Jason Clay Kennedy and John Dewayne O’Brien have been charged with engaging in organized criminal activity in connection with the $6 million burglary of Dallas-based Karat 22…

Bulgari’s $2.9 Million Mid-Century Modern Ring

As the saying goes, “A Bulgari jewel is as recognizable as a Chanel suit.” But with its platinum setting, faceted stones, and crossover style, this ring—which earned £1,889,250 at Bonhams Fine Jewellery Sale Sept. 21 in London—doesn’t exactly scream “Bulgari.” Yellow gold, chunky cabochons, semiprecious gems—that typifies the Bulgari aesthetic. Yet let’s not forget the…

Bridal: Wedding Band–Buying Facts, Atelier Minyon Rings

We’re With the Band The 2011 Engagement & Jewelry Survey from The Knot Market Intelligence and the XO Group Inc. looks at couples’ buying behaviors for wedding bands. JCK highlights some key areas where retailers can profit. Twenty-six percent of brides opt for custom looks, compared with 16 percent of grooms. Custom departments are booming—retailers…

Gold: Smooch a Pooch for Charity & More

Dog Day Afternoon The Southside Village Smooch-a-Pooch Stroll, now in its fourth year, is an annual opportunity for Belinda Coffrin, owner of ­Coffrin Jewelers in Sarasota, Fla., to raise money for the Humane Society of Sarasota County. The outdoor festival, organized by the Southside Village Business Association, takes place around Feb. 14. “We tried having…

Diamonds: Mattia Cielo’s Rugiada Line & More

Just Dew It A yearlong research effort by Italian designer Mattia Cielo has resulted in the Rugiada, or Dew, collection. The pieces incorporate springy internal titanium coils that retain their form over time and eliminate the need for sizing, according to Cielo. Mattia Cielo ring in 18k pink gold with five coils and 2 cts.…

Gem Pricing Report: The Corrections

What goes up must come down Manufacturers are concerned about the strength of the gemstone market after business cooled further in September. The Hong Kong show was active for exhibitors of high-end colored stone products. However, exhibitors of commercial-­quality goods saw little demand. This marks a reversal from the spring, when both fine- and commercial-quality…

A Cross to Wear: Verdura’s Byzantine Pendant Brooch

Thanks to Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel and her omnipresent cuffs, there couldn’t be a more iconic design in the Verdura oeuvre than the Byzantine-inspired Maltese Cross. And yet, you won’t find the look among the 10,000 sketches in the 72-year-old company archives. “This was an art project, if you will,” president Nico Landrigan says of Duke…

JCK 5: Jewels to Find in Dubai

Find these exhibitors at Dubai International Jewellery Week 2011 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre Nov. 10–13:   1. Pendant necklace in 14k gold with 0.14 ct. diamonds; $775; Meira T Designs, New York City; 212-398-0606; meiratdesigns.com 2. 18k rose gold ring with 1.50 cts. t.w. diamonds, 3.37 cts. t.w. sapphires, and 1.60…

A Gloomy Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair

Not even Asia’s largest jewelry show could transcend the global economic gloom Reports from the September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair were almost uniformly downbeat, with most feeling even the vaunted Asian market has been impacted by world economic uncertainty. The show ran Sept. 19–23 at AsiaWorld-Expo and Sept. 21–23 at the Hong Kong…

JCK Silver Spotlight: Silver Linings

The ups and downs of the precious metals market have forced some manufacturers to seek out alternatives to sterling, and others to rediscover it. In August, a faithful client of the Silverado Jewelry Gallery in Bend, Ore., noticed something different about a necklace she was about to purchase: the price. The woman—who buys up to…

The Top 10 Retail Jewelry Marketing Mistakes

Avoid these budgeting blunders and social media snafus to boost your bottom line today Retailers today have the means to take their marketing message to customers who would have been unreachable just a generation ago. Traditional workhorses such as postcards, trunk shows, and local newspaper ads now coexist in the marketing toolbox alongside blogs, YouTube…

The Business of Blogs

Chatty but not ­navel-gazing, informative but not pedantic, and ­promotional but not pushy, the industry’s best blogs drive traffic­ (and sales) while ­serving as ­powerful brand-building tools. Take a page from 10 of our favorites. Radcliffe Jewelers radcliffejewelers.com/blog.cfm Links to blogs are sometimes hard to find. At best, the blog is part of a website’s…

Scott Wickam: The Man in Green

For the Goldsmith Gallery Jewelers owner, it’s easy—and profitable—being green Scott Wickam never put much stock in conventional wisdom. After the recession nearly a decade ago, he increased his advertising and market exposure while others cut back and rode out the economic storm. The resulting increase in profits and customers drove Wickam to make an…

Heartwear Designs

235 S. Old Woodward Ave., Birmingham, Mich. Take a step into Birmingham’s tony downtown shopping district, and you’d have a hard time believing all the stories about Detroit’s urban devastation and blue-collar denizens. The community’s tree-lined streets are filled with upscale doggie bakeries, five-star eateries, and retailers with designer duds fresh from Fashion Week. With…

Made in Middleton: The Chalmers Jewelers Model

The Chalmers family reveals its store’s all-custom, all-the-time business plan Making the transition from selling men’s clothing to selling jewelry came easily to Scott Chalmers. In 1979, he quit his job at Lord Jim’s in Madison, Wis.; a year later, he joined the staff of Dunkin’s, where he began a lifelong love affair with the…

The Great E-Commerce Debate

Today, it’s easier and more affordable than ever to add e-commerce to your website—but that doesn’t mean you should Historically, e-commerce hasn’t been an option for the average small business. The cost of implementing a functioning online store—potentially well into the six figures—was prohibitive. It simply didn’t pay for most businesses to seriously consider selling…

Build Your Brand Regardless of Your Budget

Thanks to social media, small businesses can build recognizable names We’re longtime fans of results-based marketing; money you spend on a promotion needs to provide tangible rewards (i.e., money in the bank). Not that branding, or getting your name out there, isn’t worthwhile—only that it’s hard to do within a typical small jeweler’s budget. Creating…

Dean Brinker: The Gentleman From Indiana

Craving a chicken salad? A custom design? You can pick up both at Brinker’s Jewelers. 1. Describe your most memorable sale. In 2003, a customer commissioned us to create a cross for Pope John Paul II. It was part of a $20,000 custom order to make three 18k yellow and white gold cross designs for…

Move Over Gold-Buying—Jewelers Now Want to Buy Your Diamonds

Historically, only a small number of retail jewelers bought diamonds from the public. In the 1990s, however, the advent of Internet price lists and online retailing began to put the squeeze on margins for brick-and-mortar merchants, so traditional jewelers, looking for ways to compete with their Web-based peers, began to give the secondary market a…

JCK 5: What Jewelers Have Brewing for the Holidays

What are you doing this Christmas? 1. “We’re looking to do our iPad giveaway again with every purchase of $1,500 or more.” —Carolyn Ginsburg, marketing director, Northeastern Fine Jewelry, Schenectady, N.Y. 2. “We’re kicking off a lengthy treasure hunt with the grand prize of a diamond ring.” —Monika Clodius, co-owner, Clodius & Co., Rockford, Ill.…

Industry & People

COMING AND GOINGS >>On Oct. 3, Michael R. Francis, a former Target executive, was named president of J.C. Penney Company. >>On Sept. 6, Zale Corp. named Brad Furry senior vice president and chief information officer. Furry will oversee all information technology strategy and operations throughout the company. >>Hauppauge, N.Y.–based 21-store chain Harris Originals promoted Beverly…

Tom Andruskevich: “This Is a Special Industry”

On Sept. 21, Tom Andruskevich, who has led Birks & Mayors for more than 15 years as president and CEO, announced his plans to resign from the company in the spring of 2012, after a successor has been named. The busy executive recently spoke to JCK about the industry and his future plans. JCK: Where…

New Company Scio Making Synthetic Diamonds

A new company, Scio Diamond Technology, plans to begin manufacturing lab-grown colorless and pink stones next year. Joseph Lancia, CEO of the Greer, S.C.–based firm, which went public Sept. 23, admits Scio is mostly focused on developing diamonds for industrial purposes, with gems as a sideline. “We will have a small jewelry division,” Lancia tells…

Christmas Sales Looking Only Somewhat Jolly

Retailers should expect a decent but not great holiday this year, according to leading analysts who cite a shaky economy and cautious consumer mood. Even so, most predict that Christmas sales will be up—if less so than last year. The International Council of Shopping Centers was first out of the gate with its forecast, estimating…

JCK 5: Fast Facts About the Bridal Jewelry Market

For more wedding-related figures, see “We’re With the Band.” 1. The average cost of an engagement ring is $5,200. 2. It takes grooms an average of three months to find an engagement ring. 3. The most popular diamond shape is round, followed by princess. 4. The most popular engagement ring metal is white gold. 5.…

November’s Birthstone: Topaz

Topaz covers a wide spectrum of colors—including blue, green, yellow, orange, red, pink, and purple, as well as colorless. (Red and pink, often called ­“imperial topaz,” are generally considered the most valuable, blue the most popular.) Perhaps the most famous example of November’s birthstone is the Braganza. Weighing roughly 1,680 cts., the legendary gem, originally…

Year Five of the Jewelers’ Choice Awards!

It’s amazing, but this year marks the fifth anniversary of our JCK Jewelers’ Choice Awards, the industry’s premier design awards voted on exclusively by retailers. This year’s awards have some exciting new aspects, including a larger, glossier “Best of the Best” supplement due out next April (featuring all the award winners), a dedicated online gallery…

10 Things Rocking the Industry

1. Watches In the watch business, the term limited edition carries an ambiguous meaning, making it susceptible to misuse. There is, however, no mistaking the limited nature of the 40 one-off timepieces in the Only Watch auction, which took place in Monaco on Sept. 23 and raised $6.3 million to support research on Duchenne Muscular…