October 2008


Audemars Piguet Names New CEO

philippe c. merk, 51, has been named the new chief executive officer of swiss luxury watchmaker audemars piguet holding s.a., effective jan. 1, 2009. merk, ceo of swiss watch brand maurice lacroix, developed that brand into a true watch manufacturer, adding production of its own mechanical movements and complications.


large round white south seas pearls, most commonly from australia, are getting bigger and better. single pearls and strands of 18, 19, and 20 mm rounds with clean surfaces and excellent luster, while still rare, are becoming more available. we’ve even seen top-quality rounds of 22 mm. with short supply and steady demand, expect to pay top dollar for the best in big.

Gem Pricing Report

wholesale dealers report that buying is tight. the mood in the industry is very cautious. recent failures of major investment firms and bailouts of others are signaling serious problems in capital markets. eventually the bill will be passed to taxpayers, further cutting into household budgets. completion of a summer research project is providing a meaningful look into current market trends for …

IJO Founder Dies

william f. roberts jr., the founder of the independent jewelers organization, the world’s largest jewelers’ buying group, died aug. 8 while vacationing in highlands falls, n.c. he was 83. a statement from ijo, located in norwalk, conn., praised its founder: “for decades the recipient of extraordinary respect, bill will be missed by many friends and former colleagues, but his legacy will c…

Foreclosures Rise in August

foreclosure filings were reported on 303,879 u.s. properties in august, a 12 percent increase from the previous month and a 27 percent increase from august 2007, according to realtytrac, an online marketplace for foreclosure properties. the company said one of every 416 u.s. households received a foreclosure filing during the month.

Faded Glory, Shifting Sands

i recently had time to wander about the center of the diamond and jewelry business in new york, the 47th street area. not that i have not been there innumerable times over the years, but this time i stopped to chat with some street-level shopkeepers. it is hard to miss the obvious—many booths in the exchanges are vacant, and the assumption is that it reflects the current slowdown in the e…

Suzy Landa

a simple personal style is like a plain canvas, providing a spare backdrop for those who know that jewelry makes an outfit. so says suzy landa, a self-proclaimed “jeans and t-shirt kind of girl” who adheres to that adage (courtesy of her grandmother) and turns geometric shapes and colored stones into bold jewelry designs.

Reinhold Jewelers

as one of the top jewelry retailers in puerto rico, marie helene morrow, of reinhold jewelers, knows that her business is all about bringing jewelry to her clientele while maintaining close ties to the local community. for the past six years, reinhold has sent its customers a lovingly crafted, self-produced holiday catalog with a puerto rican theme.

Australian Jeweler Enters U.S Market With 17 Stores

australia’s michael hill international plans to buy 17 stores in illinois and missouri from whitehall jewelers, now in liquidation. this marks the brisbane, australia, company’s first entry into the u.s. market. the company has 188 stores in new zealand and australia and 22 stores in canada. consensus advisors, a boston-based investment firm, is handling the transaction.

Make the Holidays Come Early This Year!

has anybody else noticed that the holiday selling season is getting shorter and shorter? it used to be that the period between thanksgiving and christmas was busy all the way through. last year it seemed as though the stores were busy only from about dec. 17 through dec. 24. many jewelers were panicked and ready to pull their hair out.

A Well-Prepared Staff Will Maximize Holiday Returns

think about past holidays when you were a retail customer wondering where the help was. don’t risk losing even one customer who might go to a competitor by scanting hiring and training. the customer you lose today might have been one of your best clients in the future. according to famed investor warren buffett, it takes 25 years to gain a client, nine seconds to lose one! ensuring that you hav…


JCK Events, which produces The JCK Show ~ Las Vegas, LUXURY by JCK, and other jewelry trade fairs, has announced two promotions. Yancy Weinrich has been named industry vice president for The JCK Show and LUXURY by JCK. Weinrich joined the organization in July 2004 as national sales director of LUXURY by JCK and then…

Richemont Takes Over Roger Dubuis

richemont group acquired 60 percent of swiss watch and jewelry brand roger dubuis in early august, leading to the departure of its chief executive. primary shareholder carlos dias—considered the driving force behind the brand—left the company less than two weeks after the deal. he was replaced by matthias schuler, previously chief operating officer of iwc, one of several swiss watc…

Two Gold Eddies for JCK!

i’m thrilled to announce that the jck publishing group just won two 2008 gold eddie awards. the eddies are presented annually by folio magazine, the leading publication for magazine professionals. they represent editorial excellence and are bestowed only to the best magazine editorial teams. jck won its awards in the business-to-business retail category.

Trade Groups Petition FTC Over Platinum Name

jewelry trade organizations filed a submission to the federal trade commission arguing that the word platinum should not be used to describe an alloy that combines platinum with metals that aren’t from the platinum group. the groups—jewelers vigilance committee, manufacturing jewelers and suppliers of america, jewelers of america, and american gem society—were responding to a call f…

Unemployment Rises in August

the bureau of labor statistics reported that the unemployment rate increased to 6.1 percent in august, up from 5.7 in july. employment fell in manufacturing and employment services, while mining and health care continued to add jobs. average hourly earnings rose by 7 cents (0.4 percent) over the month.

ICA Criticizes Burma Ban

the international colored gemstone association criticized recently passed legislation that bars gemstones of burmese origin—particularly jadeite and rubies—from entering the united states. the tom lantos block burmese jade act of 2008, signed by president bush on july 29, may hurt independent miners and others in myanmar and elsewhere, ica said.

Don’t Blame the iPod

last month, this page asked “do we need the mall jewelers?” yes, we do—just not so many of them all selling the same thing. (editor’s note: the last line of copy was accidentally cut off; it should have read “… there might only be one.”) i can’t believe mall jewelers don’t understand the need to change things up, but i can believe most are afraid to step bac…

Durable Goods Lose Ground in August

the commerce department reported that new orders for manufactured durable goods (i.e., goods meant to last three years or more) fell 4.5 percent in august, to $208.5 billion, a decrease of $9.9 billion. durable goods include heavy machinery, computers, and transportation equipment. the durable goods report is one that can fluctuate from month to month, but most economists didn’t expect such a …

De Beers to Spend More Ad Money at Christmas

de beers has committed to laying out some extra advertising money in the u.s. market this holiday, but not for standard generic promotions. instead, the money will go to what spokeswoman louise prior calls “a special allocation” of co-op marketing funds. “these financial contributions will help support marketing initiatives with the sightholders’ chosen downstream partners to …

WJA Honors Industry Leaders at 25th Gala

the women’s jewelry association’s 25th annual awards for excellence, held july 27 at chelsea piers in new york city, was a festive toast to the women who founded and nurtured the organization as well as to two exceptional industry leaders. sybil yurman, president and cmo of david yurman, and steven kaiser, president and ceo of kaiser time, received wja’s highest honors.

MJSA Journal’s Snyder Named Trade Press Editor of the Year

tina wojtkielo snyder, mjsa journal’s editor-in-chief, has been honored by the jewelry information center as its 2008 trade press editor of the year. the presentation was held july 29 at jic’s annual trade press luncheon in new york city. “tina has been a tremendous supporter of jewelry information center and its mission to help educate those in the jewelry industry and beyond,” sa…

The IJO Show

in august, i attended the ijo show in philadelphia. it was my first visit to the independent jewelers organization buying show. the show seemed to me to be well attended and very active. it was not a massive show like the jck show ~ las vegas or baselworld. it was relatively small, with perhaps 300–400 exhibitors, a nicely edited show with a variety of vendors covering all the different p…

Go Corporate

corporate jewelry sales, when done correctly, can be a highly profitable, regular source of business conducted with loyal repeat clients. corporate jewelry sales also can boost your image in your market and extend your brand name to a larger regional audience. the corporate jewelry market in your region may include corporations, retail store chains, factories, small businesses, local government…

Jaeger-LeCoultre, DiCaprio Unveil Time to Care

swiss watch company jaeger-lecoultre has partnered with actor leonardo dicaprio in its time to care program to benefit the leonardo dicaprio fund, which works to spur awareness and action on environmental issues. two limited-edition watches with never-before-used technology are being sold this fall at new jaeger-lecoultre boutiques in boca raton, fla.

Charles & Colvard Gets Delisting Notice

charles & colvard, the manufacturer of moissanite, has received a notice of possible delisting from nasdaq, as the bid price of the company’s common stock has closed below the minimum $1 per share for 30 consecutive days. dennis m. reed, charles & colvard president and chief marketing officer, told jck that the company looks at the nasdaq warning as a procedural issue.

Allen Kessler Receives Westover Award

allen kessler, founder of kessler jewelers in burbank, calif., has been selected as the 2008 recipient of the robert b. westover distinguished service award by the california jewelers association. cja celebrated its 75th anniversary and presented the award at its black & diamond gala dinner aug. 17 during the west coast jewelry show.


luxury watch blancpain, a swatch group brand, in june acquired vica sàrl and with it the vincent calabrese luxury watch brand, which was owned by swiss watchmaker vincent calabrese. he’s the cofounder of switzerland’s horological academy of independent creators and is known for creating corum’s golden bridge watch and designing blancpain’s flying tourbillon watch.

Watch Out! Part 2

last month we explored the dichotomy between jewelry stores that sell some watches and watch stores that sell some jewelry and what it takes to close the gap. watches should embody your jewelry store’s style and commitment to service. often jewelry stores carry too many me-too lines of watches found in mall department stores and big box merchants.

Thriving in Troubled Times: Cause and Effectiveness

cause marketing enables jewelers to do well by doing good. that’s the advice of david l. rocha, executive director of jewelers for children, which supports six charities helping abused or ill children. “cause marketing opens doors to increased sales and can make money for jewelers,” says rocha.

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