October 2007

Pearls Blast Off

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Diamond Investments

the information highway has spawned a new type of consumer: the informed consumer. i will bet every retailer reading this has had instances when a 20-something walks in looking for a diamond, fully armed with printouts, fact sheets, and prices. many years ago, martin rapaport warned the industry about the commoditization of diamonds.

Competing in a Changing Market

the internet has helped consumers obtain fine-jewelry education, discover more product options, become price conscious, and enjoy immediacy in obtaining jewelry. jewelry retailers can compete by developing clever marketing, being attentive to customers, having a market niche, and positioning oneself as an expert.

The Internet’s Impact on the Jewelry Retailer

the internet has given buyers the ability to purchase diamonds without setting foot in a jewelry store or consulting a jeweler. it has given entrepreneurs the opportunity to sell a product consumers believe is overpriced and difficult to understand. sellers have used the internet to market diamonds in the purest form with little overhead and sometimes no inventory costs.

Miami Beach Antique Jewelry & Watch Show This Month

the 15th miami beach antique jewelry & watch show will take place oct. 26–28, at the miami beach convention center. the three-day show will bring together more than 150 dealers from france, italy, china, canada, the united kingdom, the united states, and south and central america as well as visitors from around the globe.

IRS Looks for AML Compliance

the internal revenue service is examining jewelry wholesalers and retailers for compliance with their anti-money-laundering obligations under the patriot act. these audits are being added to the irs’s standard audits to see if jewelers were filing form 8300, required for cash transactions over $10,000, explained cecilia gardner, executive director of the jewelers vigilance committee.

Gem Pricing Report

dealers report mixed results in the colored stone markets. after declining earlier this summer, gas prices are rising again. prices of many food products are up significantly, and consumers are hearing reports of home foreclosures. stringent standards for credit are apparently taking a toll on consumer confidence.

Luxury Consumers Often Misunderstood

wealthy consumers are not just “consumption machines living in another reality,” but hard-working, potentially loyal consumers who often seek guidance for their purchases, according to a new report by the luxury institute. among the facts the institute found: the wealthy do not make or spend their money easily.

JVC Hires Lobbyist for ‘Cultured’ Fight

jewelers vigilance committee confirmed a report in legal times that it has hired a lobbying firm to prod the federal trade commission to bar the word cultured for lab-grown gems. jvc executive director cecilia gardner confirmed the group made the unprecedented move of hiring lobbyist patton-boggs—a prominent firm whose clients include microsoft and various municipal and foreign governme…

Secret Treasures Unveiled by AJDC

secret treasure is the theme of the 12th annual design project collection from the american jewelry design council, a nonprofit education group. member interpretations of the theme include jewelry and art objects. all pieces become part of the ajdc collection, a traveling exhibition to museums and galleries throughout north america, and items are never sold.

Extreme Watch Testing

think about the product testing of wristwatches. what do you imagine? tedious tests by carefully calibrated machines under meticulously controlled conditions, right? what about wrestling with crocodiles or tracking komodo dragons? such activities are part of the regimen that national geographic watches are put through by field specialists, explorers, photographers, researchers, and filmmakers o…

Does Diamond Mining Hurt the Environment?

while certain sellers of lab-grown diamonds now claim that diamond mining is ecologically damaging, activists say that isn’t true of all types of mining. greenkarat.com, which sells synthetic stones, declares on its web site that diamond mining creates “environmental devastation” and suggests it be “phased out.

GIA Opens Lab in Johannesburg

the gemological institute of america plans to open a second overseas lab in johannesburg, south africa, in early 2008. this move comes three months after gia’s board of governors approved global expansion plans. the new lab will have gia taking over the laboratory functions of the jewelry council of south africa.

Trend Alert: Meet the Beetles

take a bit of your backyard with you wherever you go. jewelry designers are re-creating tiny garden inhabitants in precious metal to evoke nostalgia and foster fond memories of spring, summer, and the country. city dwellers take heart: these critters are fun to wear and they don’t bite.

Those Who Fail to Plan …

technology has changed the way we live in so many ways. a few years ago, a speaker at one of the trade shows said the adoption of technology has become much more rapid today than in previous times. as examples, she noted that the adoption of electricity in the united states took roughly 50 years. adoption of the telephone took 25 years.

De Beers to Settle Lawsuit in October

the forms that allow industry members to claim their share of the de beers $290 million antitrust settlement should be available in october 2007, according to jewelers vigilance committee. the fund will be divided among industry class members—defined as direct and indirect purchasers and resellers of diamonds, such as retailers.

Moshe Schnitzer, Diamond Industry Legend, Dies

moshe schnitzer, one of the driving forces behind the israeli diamond industry and a true industry legend, died recently at age 86. among his many titles, schnitzer was president of the israel diamond exchange; chairman of the israel diamond institute; and president of the world federation of diamond bourses, the umbrella organization for the world’s diamond clubs.

President of Zale North America Resigns

in the latest in a series of management shuffles, john zimmermann, president of zale north america, which includes the flagship zale division, recently left as a result of a company streamlining. the news comes as zale again reported mixed financial results. for fiscal year 2007, revenues were flat at $2.

Tiffany Sells Little Switzerland

tiffany & co. has sold its caribbean-oriented little switzerland division to nxp corp., which operates retail stores under the names jewels and azura by jewels in the caribbean. the company did not disclose the sale price but admitted it came at a loss, which would affect its financial results. credit suisse analyst paul lejuez called the sale “an incremental positive,” estimati…

JVC Publishes New Consumer Publication

jewelers vigilance committee has created a new consumer brochure titled “buying jewelry? do not be fooled by the word ‘wholesale’ in advertising” to help consumers understand that it is misleading for retailers to advertise as a wholesaler to the public. the brochure explains important advertising wholesale pricing information, including the difference between a wholesaler and a ret…

Blog Marketing 101

imagine discovering a powerful way to reach customers directly, get instant feedback, build your brand, test new products, increase your visibility, and promote your company cheaply and effectively. blogs offer all this and more, according to blog marketing: the revolutionary new way to increase sales, build your brand and get exceptional results, by blogging expert and consultant jeremy wright…

Blue Topaz Crackdown Unlikely

despite the furor over radiation treatments for blue topaz, the nuclear regulatory commission probably won’t ask jewelers to pull the gemstone from their shelves, a spokesman says. “we are not requesting the industry to take any action at this point,” says david mcintyre, nrc public affairs officer.

L.I.D. Reaches Agreements With Banks on Financing

li.d., new york, operating under chapter 11 since march, announced that its lender banks have agreed to a long-term financing agreement. “we were a sound company then, and we are a more viable company today as our plan continues to exceed projections,” said l.i.d. president david elishayov.

Lagos Wins Trademark Battle

a federal judge in philadelphia has ruled that jewelry designer and manufacturer michael dawkins infringed on the trademark owned by jewelry designer and manufacturer lagos. u.s. district court judge ronald j. buckwalter of the eastern district of pennsylvania said that philadelphia-based lagos owns the trademark for the caviar name in jewelry designs and that mdi must stop using the name i…

Fire & Flash Expands

fire & flash, the new international jewelry showcase at americasmart atlanta, has been established as a biannual market. this year’s show takes place oct. 13–16 and will run in conjunction with the atlanta apparel market. also this year, fire & flash expands to include an exclusive temporary booth section.

Hänni Receives Distinction From ICA

during the dubai international colored gemstone association congress in may, henry a. hänni was presented with ica’s lifetime achievement award in recognition and appreciation for a lifetime of distinguished service to the colored gemstone industry worldwide. hänni is director of the ssef swiss gemmological institute in basel, switzerland.

Jewelry Designer of the Two Worlds

if not for the internet, katey brunini’s italian cousins may never have found her. the jewelry designer reunited with her relatives five years ago, when her cousin barbara, from spoleto, italy, tracked her down through her fine-jewelry web site at www.kbrunini.com. spoleto, of course, is famous for the spoleto festival (officially festival dei due mondi or festival of the two worlds), founded i…

Federman Named Editor-in-Chief of Colored Stone

david federman, award-winning journalist, author, and former executive editor of modern jeweler, has been named editor-in-chief of colored stone magazine. federman reports to merle white, editorial director of interweave press’s gem & jewelry group. he replaces morgan beard, who has left the magazine.

Holiday Barometers

we all know what’s been going down: the housing market, the stock market, and easy consumer credit. unfortunately, the u.s. labor department also reported jobs going down—4,000 jobs were lost in august. what’s been going up, meanwhile, is the cost of living—energy, food, and health care. during the summer, both wal-mart and home depot released disappointing sales figures, another w…

TanzaNight at the Museum

gemological institute of america staff, students, and guests were treated to an array of tanzanite and tanzanite jewelry and a presentation from sarah cort and anna haber, managing and operations directors, respectively, for the tanzanite foundation. “the tanzanite foundation: a celebration of life” was the most recent in a series of gia museum lectures this year.

First ‘Women in the Know – Midwest’ Conference This Month

the women’s jewelry association, in partnership with macy’s on state in chicago, will present the first “women in the know – midwest” business conference on oct. 19. the theme of the midwest conference, to be held at the macy’s on state store, is “inspire, educate, connect.” the conference also will get a promotional boost from the city of chicago, which has agree…

Signity Buys Leslie Diffusion Topaz

signity, distributor of precision-cut natural and created gemstones, and a wholly owned subsidiary of d. swarovski & co., has acquired leslie & co., san diego, the manufacturer and distributor of topaz enhanced with pollak heat diffusion. the acquisition gives signity, which uses thermal color fusion (tcf) technology, a larger color portfolio.

The JCK 2007 State of the Industry Report: Part 2

what is the most critical issue facing the jewelry industry in the next couple of years, and how can we deal with it? that was the question jck posed for its 2007 state of the industry report. to answer it, we went to experts and leaders, including retailers, manufacturers, suppliers, consultants, educators, and association executives, all seasoned observers of the jewelry business.

Jewelers Executive Conference Announces 2008 Dates

the next jewelers executive conference will be held march 15 and 16, 2008, at the doubletree hotel in overland park, kan. the conference will provide jewelry store owners, managers, and decision-making executives with both formal and informal educational opportunities aimed at generating better sales and bigger profits.

Flower Power

we often think our industry is so different from others that it’s governed by a special set of rules. our products are labor intensive, highly personal, appeal to deep emotions, and possess high intrinsic value. taking these factors together, we do have a unique business. but when considering how gems and jewelry get distributed via different channels, we can safely say there are many sets of …

Network Unites Watch Dealers and Jewelers

need a watch right away for a customer? looking to buy or sell vintage timepieces? want to know quickly what’s available? the watch dealers network—a new business-to-business web site created to bring together independent jewelers and professional watch dealers—could be what you need.

A Special Anniversary

ten years ago (sept. 17, to be exact), a seismic event occurred at the jck publishing group. that day, nearly 80 percent of the staff quit to form a competitive publication, leaving the remaining staffers stunned. the reasons for their departure had to do with new corporate ownership of jck magazine and the jck show, and the way responsibilities for each would be divided.

Winners of Diamond Jewelry Competition Announced

eight pieces were recently selected as winners of this year’s diamond promotion service journey diamond jewelry design competition. the event challenged u.s. sightholders, manufacturers, and jewelry designers to create new journey diamond jewelry designs. among the winning designs is a ring from the elegant collection for jasani for the distinctively journey category, and a cuff from susa…

Pearls Blast Off

pearls have been selling strongly for several years, with more pearls and greater selection than ever before, and it doesn’t look as if the boom will let up anytime soon. to paraphrase armand asher, if iridesse can open 16 pearls-only stores, what are you waiting for? asher, of albert asher pearls in new york, speaks well of iridesse, tiffany & co.

Hight & Randall Ltd. Personal Jeweler

hight & randall ltd. personal jeweler is a full-service, american gem society store based in rochester, minn. established in 1995, the store caters to the upscale, professional, high-tech community associated with the world-renowned mayo clinic, focusing on exceptional diamonds and colored stones, designer jewelry, custom design, and appraisals.

30 Tips to Boost Your Holiday Sales

you’ve been prepping for the holidays since the summer shows, but this month the christmas countdown begins in earnest. the following tips, from retailers and other industry professionals, include new ideas as well as basics that are always worth a reminder. all have the potential to help you make extra sales during the all-important holiday selling season.

How Do I Set Up a Productivity Improvement Program?

the four benchmarks of a productivity improvement program are training and coaching, nonnegotiable sales and customer service standards, goals, and accountability. training it should focus on four distinct areas: sales techniques, product knowledge, operations, and customer service. the keys to effective training are: hear the information, read the information, write the in-formation (i.

The New American Aristocracy

a different kind of wealthy class is rising in the united states, and it’s bringing a fresh set of values and expectations to the luxury experience. to remain competitive, providers of luxury goods and services need to understand these values and cater to the newly moneyed, according to a consensus of about two dozen speakers at a recent luxury marketing seminar.

Competing With the Internet

to compete with the internet, retailers must continue to promote a sensory approach to certain jewelry and swiss watches. being able to touch and feel these products, plus the welcoming presence of a sales professional who can answer technical questions and provide additional services, are lost to those who buy online retailers face greater competition from internet diamond vendors, because the…

Keeping and Increasing In-Store Traffic

the convenience of shopping online and the ability to create your own ring weaken the need for consumers to visit a brick-and-mortar store. so, jewelers must create the desire for customers to visit their store and reward them with a memorable shopping experience. at exclusively diamonds, we’ve implemented four programs that have created traffic, generated excitement, and increased sales.

Skills Plus an Assertive Style Equals Selling Success

skills in greeting, questioning, or closing are important but must be applied with appropriate amounts of assertiveness. assertiveness is to selling as garlic is to food. a little greatly enhances flavor; too much will make your food inedible. the dictionary defines asser-tiveness as “willingness to be forceful if a situation requires it.

What’s Trust Got to Do With It?

honesty and integrity have built trust between customer and jeweler that’s been unparalleled. this has kept the jeweler in good business for centuries. recently though, i have begun to worry. here’s why: first, the film blood diamond aired some dirty laundry from the secretive jewelry world. second, over the past few years there have been some high-profile cases concerning jewelry establishment…

Back to the Futures

check the financial pages of the newspaper, and you’ll see futures listed for beef, cotton, oil, coffee, and soybeans—not to mention gold, silver, and platinum. but not for diamonds. now some want to change that. price sheet publisher martin rapaport and polishedprices.com’s charles wyndham are separately, but vocally, calling for diamond futures, and rapaport introduced a preliminary pro…

From the JCKonline.com Blogs

the new sightholder applications you ever go on a job interview and get asked questions like, “what are your strengths?” and “where do you see yourself in five years?” that’s what the new sightholder questionnaire is like—it’s page after page of those kinds of questions.

Integrity During a Time of Rapid Changes

the key challenge for our industry will be keeping up with the rapid pace of change and doing it with candor and transparency. we are seeing increased globalization, new technologies that affect every step of gemstone processing, and more product choice than ever before. increasing competition requires business plans that separate fads from trends and pinpoint emerging markets.

AGS Announces New Membership Designation

american gem society has announced a new membership designation for american gem society members who have successfully completed jewelers of america’s certified bench jeweler certification, an exam process created to assess existing expertise and knowledge, as well as the american gem society education requirements.

Corrections

in “metals: contemporary alternatives” (jck, july 2007, p. 76), the wrong palladium bridal set was pictured for hoover & strong on p. 80. the correct image is shown here. also, the toll-free phone number is (800) 759-9997.

Getting a Fair Share of Luxury Spending

every purchase of a $900 flat screen tv and $2,500 designer handbag raises the question, “why wasn’t that a jewelry purchase?” perhaps we need more aggressive marketing programs, exploring new niche target markets via small-scale tests, like baby-boomer bridal remounts, push gifts, or same-sex commitment jewelry.

Swiss Watch Exports to U.S. Up 13.8% in First Half

swiss watch exports rose 15.5 percent in value in the first half of 2007, to $5.9 billion, says the federation of the swiss watch industry fh. precious-metal timepieces showed the highest rates of growth. the united states, the top market for swiss watches, saw a 13.8 percent increase. over the previous 12 months, swiss watch exports rose 12.

Gerald Fried

gerald fried, who founded gerald fried display co. in 1946, died on aug. 15. while the fried packaging and display co. had been operating under new ownership since 2002, fried continued to work until this past winter. “those who had the pleasure of working with him will remember him as a loyal and caring man of integrity,” said a company statement.

Philip Edward Lindsay, Diamond Cutter

diamond cutter philip edward lindsay died of a heart attack april 26. he was 58. lindsay, a cutter for eightstar diamond co., cotati, calif., cut the company’s american star, a 13.42 ct. d/flawless. “a legend has died,” said eightstar’s richard von sternberg. “he really was the one responsible for the american star.

Newswire

swiss watchmaker frédérique constant genève announced a 52 percent growth in sales for the first six months of 2007. it cited a return to sales growth in north america and continuing strong growth in western europe, russia, and asia. over the past 10 years, frédérique constant has had an annual growth rate of 25 percent to 30 percent.

What We Can Learn From Aesop

aesop’s fable about the grasshopper and the ant comes to mind as a cautionary tale for the jewelry business. one sunny midsummer’s day, the grasshopper is jumping around and chirping merrily when he sees an ant stuffing kernels of corn down his anthill. the grasshopper asks the ant why he isn’t enjoying the day, and the ant says he’s too busy preparing for winter.

Elini Ordered to Stop Selling Watches Similar to Franck Muller’s

a new york city federal judge in july ordered elini to stop selling three watch lines that allegedly copied franck muller luxury watches. the order by judge george daniels incorporated a written agreement between the companies to “settle the controversy between them.” under that settlement, neither admitted liability, and there wasn’t any award of damages or costs.

Top Brands Support MD Charity Auction

thirty-five of the world’s leading watch brands each donated a unique watch or the first in a limited series to the only watch 2007 auction in monaco on sept. 20. the auction was conducted by antiquorum auctioneers, under the patronage of prince albert ii of monaco. proceeds benefited research into duchenne muscular dystrophy, a degenerative muscular disease affecting one in 3,500 boys.

‘Swiss Made’ Standard Could Be Lucrative for Swatch

tougher criteria for use of the “swiss made” label on watches could benefit the swatch group, the world’s largest watchmaker, say swiss press accounts, citing a report by ubs (united bank of switzerland). on june 28, the federation of the swiss watch industry fh agreed to ask the swiss government to strengthen “swiss made” criteria, including greater use of swiss-made c…

Valentine A. Perez, Jeweler

valentine perez died march 6, after a battle with lung cancer. he was 76. perez, a native of buenos aires, argentina, began working in the jewelry industry at the age of 13. he emigrated to the united states in his late 20s, and worked for new york firms david webb, van cleef and arpels, bialo, robert baum, and feature/foremost companies.