October 2010

What Upscale Buyers Want for the Holiday

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What’s Hot in Worldwide Design

From Brazil to Bangkok, tracking four fantastic internationally intriguing jewelers Francis Mertens IDH Titanium Home Base: Antwerp, Belgium; 32-3222-9300; idhtitanium.comYears in Business: 10Known for: Voluminous, delicate ­jewels made from gem-studded titanium in an alchemic combination of colorsSold to: Clients in Paris, London, New York City, and Dubai, United Arab Emirates Titanium, the high-tech metal that…

Designing Duo H.Stern and Oscar Niemeyer

Two brazilian legends collaborate on a collection of sinuous styles. What attracts me is the free and sensual curve, the curve I find in my country’s mountains, in the sinuous course of its rivers, in the ocean waves, in the body of the favorite woman.—From “Poema da Curva” by Oscar Niemeyer Architect Oscar Niemeyer is…

Retail Details: Maddaloni Jewelers’ Lou Maddaloni

The watch man on Swiss tourbillons, Florida sushi, and Long Island guys’ nights out 1. What’s your most memorable sale and why? A few months back, a client of mine expressed interest in buying a very special timepiece by Ulysse Nardin. So I arranged a visit to its U.S. head­quarters in Boca Raton, Fla. The…

Van Cleef & Arpels’ Biennale Balloon

In Jules Verne’s 1863 novel Five Weeks in a Balloon, three voyagers set out to discover Africa. This one-of-a-kind Maximus clip from Les Voyages Extraordinaires, a new high jewelry collection from Van Cleef & Arpels, renders their dreamlike journey—including a tangle with a giant elephant—in a blaze of diamonds that affirms Van Cleef’s singular mastery…

Gemstones: Yellow Emeralds, Ethiopian Peridot, Synthetic Stones

Yellow Streak Michigan-based jeweler Patrick Coughlin recently launched a line of ­yellow beryl under a luxurious trademark: Yellow Emerald. Mined from a single source in Brazil, the Yellow Emerald is mostly clean and possesses a particularly intense yellow color. Coughlin’s interest in the golden gem was inspired by the color’s current popularity in the jewelry…

Watches: From James Bond to Harrison Ford

Bondage in ­Columbia The museum of the National Association of Watch & Clock Collectors (nawcc.org), in Columbia, Pa., is running an exhibit titled “Bond Watches…James Bond Watches,” guest curated by Dell Deaton (jamesbondwatches.com). Through April 30, 2011, the museum will display timepieces worn by the fictional character in both novels and movies. A special feature…

Bridal: Tiaras, ‘Today’ Show Rings

Crowning Glory Diamond tiaras have long been a symbol of European royalty, but more are popping up—and becoming available—in American markets. Here are a few of the latest designers taking the headpiece to a higher level. •?Damiani: Cristina Bagnari, designer of the Italian brand’s Master­piece Collections, unveiled three one-of-a-kind tiaras this year: the Belle Époque,…

Silver: New Lines From Shaill and Chan

Shaill Launches Silver The inspiration for Shaill Jhaveri’s new silver and vermeil line? Plain old H2O. Research from the United Nations and CIA reveals that the life-sustaining element of water “will become increasingly hard to come by in many parts of the world (the Middle East, Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa) and will be a leading…

Gold: Borgezie Shoes, Frey Wille Boutiques

Forget Glass—Try a Golden Slipper Cinderella could’ve done better in the shoe department if Borgezie had been in her court. The Birmingham, England–based House of Borgezie—a seven-year-old lux­ury jeweler—has unveiled a pair of shoes that could have Carrie Bradshaw snubbing her beloved Jimmy Choos. Enter the Eternal Borgezie Diamond Stiletto, complete with 30 cts. t.w.…

Platinum: Floral Mountings; PGI at India International Jewellery Week

Trend-Spotting: ­Floral Mountings When summer’s blooms start to fade, the beauty of your favorite flowers can live on in platinum floral-motif bridal mountings. They last a lot longer than the fresh-cut variety—and no watering necessary! Platinum Flora mounting with 0.65 ct. t.w. bezel-set diamond accents; $4,200; Mark Schneider Design, Long Beach, Calif.; 800-452-5804; markschneiderdesign.com A…

Diamonds: De Beers’ Gareth Penny on His Exit; Bulgari’s Blue on the Auction Block

Penny and His Thoughts Gareth Penny, the outgoing CEO of De Beers, told JCK in an exclusive interview his next job will likely not involve diamonds. “I’d like to do something different, maybe something entrepreneurial,” he says. “I am 48 years old and looking forward to the next chapter. For the last 10 years I…

Gem Pricing Report

Retailers are stocking up…conservatively. Meanwhile, blue sapphires remain red-hot. The short-term outlook for the retail market is good. Retailers are preparing for the holiday season and ordering inventory. However, wholesale dealers report that early September buying indicates stock building is ­modest at best. As one gemstone wholesaler said of retailers: “The supply model is outdated…

From Stem to Store: Borgioni’s Rose Cuff

Everything’s coming up roses at Borgioni. The four-year-old company, founded by mother-daughter team Rhonda and Tiffany Bartolacci, made its debut at this year’s Couture show (earning a nomination in the Diamonds $20,000 and Up category) with a cuff that’s not your garden-variety arm candy. So how does their garden grow? With colored gold, pavé stones,…

Four Nights in Bangkok

In early September, the 46th Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair opened its doors to 15 percent more visitors compared with last September’s event—in spite of the tumultuous events of the spring, when anti-government protests brought weeks of civil unrest to the city. Organized by the Thai Gem and Jewelry Traders’ Association (TGJTA) in conjunction with…

JCK 5: Hot Indian Jewelers

India’s 5,000-year-old design history has lately been coopted by luxury jewelers besotted with traditional craftsmanship and locally sourced stones. Below, five of our faves: 1. Amrapali amrapalijewels.comThe Jaipur manu­facturer specializes in ornate rose-cut dia­mond necklaces and Bakelite cuffs studded with red spinel, a Mogul favorite. 2. Bapalal Keshavlal bapalalkeshavlal.comThis 71-year-old Mumbai-based exporter is renowned for…

A Passage to India

Long regarded as producers of mass-market merchandise, Indian jewelers are nurturing a new reputation for their country as a greenhouse for cutting-edge design. This message was loud and clear after the India International Jewellery Week in Mumbai Aug. 15–19. The event featured 30 Indian designers—including Amrapali and Zoya by Tanishq—participating in fashion-week-esque runway shows. Organized…

Cultured Club: 27 Chic New Looks

Once upon a time, pearls came in a single flavor: white, round, and ­classic all over. Now, designers are daring to experiment. The results? Kaleidoscopic, baroque, and unexpectedly edgy.   Rock ’n’ Roll Unconventional looks for unbeatable style (Clockwise from top left)Golden pearl earrings with 0.83 ct. t.w. black diamond pavé in 18k gold, $5,200,…

JCK 5: “Nevers” of Pearl Care to Tell Every Customer

1. Never hang pearls. This weakens the silk threads holding the necklace together. 2. Never store your pearls in any type of plastic bag. Plastic can emit a chemical that will cause the pearl’s surface to deteriorate. 3. Never leave your pearls near a direct source of heat (e.g., fireplace mantel, ­television set, stove). 4.…

The Pearls Next Door

Funky colors and shapes are giving new life to an old standby. There is always room in a retailer’s display case—and a woman’s ­jewelry box!—for the classic strand of round white pearls. But to generate sales beyond that traditional first piece, retailers need to feature designs set with distinctive pearl shapes, color varieties that match…

Shell Shocked: Diving Into the Modern-Day Pearl Industry

The freshwater revolution of the past decade has stirred debate over origin, nomenclature, and disclosure. The upside? Never a dull moment. When pop-culture icons Lady Gaga and the pearl-loving characters from Mad Men collide with today’s diverse pearl landscape, the result is a renewed consumer appreciation for the iridescent beauties. Retailers may not have trouble…

How to Bring in Luxury Shoppers—And Keep Them Happy

The rules of engagement in the luxury sector are tougher than ever. For a while, it seemed the “new normal” for the luxury market would resemble the old one. Upscale retailers like Nordstrom, ­Tiffany & Co., and Saks Fifth Avenue logged impressive sales jumps in the first half of 2010, reflecting pent-up demand that came…

JCK 5: Best Bets for the Holiday

From “grown-up glitz” bangles to skulls named Bob and Marcelitto, Ylang23’s Joanne Teichman (left) picks five items sure to ring registers this season. 1. “Holding a wine glass?” asks Teichman. These crystal and Lucite bangles make a “major entrance!” $295 each; Alexis Bittar, New York City; 718-422-7580; alexisbittar.com 2. Charms: “New and exclusive to Ylang23.”…

What Upscale Buyers Want for the Holiday

Luxury retailers are banking on an inspired mix of rose gold, antique cuts, and offbeat materials. But one thing is certain: The prices had better be right. Forget what you’ve heard about the lousy economy: Consumers are buying fine jewelry. At least that’s what luxury retailers are counting on for the holidays. But the category…

Jackie Kennedy: The Lady in White

There are the oversized sunglasses. The prim suits with pillbox hats. But nothing captures the simple elegance of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis quite like those pearls. She sported the understated stunners all through her life—from state dinners as first lady to luncheons as an editor at Random House. “As a fashion icon, she appealed to every…

JCK Asks…Temple St. Clair

The golden girl leaves no stone unturned Yellow gold is more expensive than ever, but for ­Temple St. Clair Carr, its value goes well beyond price. The metal has been a mainstay of her wide-ranging line since its beginnings in 1986 in Florence, Italy. Not that she doesn’t mix it up: To craft her medieval-inspired…

Prime Style at the Primetime Emmy Awards

White Metal On The Red Carpet At the 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards on Aug. 29 in Los Angeles, platinum almost stole the spotlight from the trophy-winning stars. Kyra Sedgwick, named best actress for her turn as a syrupy-Southern-accented investigator on The Closer, piled on platinum gemstone bracelets, a platinum ring with a 60 ct. ­rubellite,…

JCK 5: Carved Gems

When mines exhaust their gem-quality riches, hope still exists for less-desirable stones—a.k.a. the stepchildren of our industry. Skilled gem carvers can give low-quality stones with good color—think aquamarine, amethyst, jade—the beautiful finish that Mother Nature didn’t, or they can transform an unremarkable agate into a work of art. From simple quartz leaves to whimsical tourmaline…

Retail Details: Avenue Jewelers’ Jason Druxman

Jason Druxman on his casual attire, friendly clientele, and studly nickname 1. What advice have you received from a fellow retailer that’s changed the way you run your store? I’m a fourth-generation jeweler who’s been in the jewelry business for 26 years. Growing up in the business, I worked in a chain store and at…

Location, Location, Location

Walk in, log on, and check in: With Foursquare, Loopt, SCVNGR, and Gowalla, you can tell everyone where you are—all the time. It may sound confusing, pointless, or worse, but you’d be surprised. In a world where Facebook can accumulate some 500 million users in five years, you have to look ahead of the curve…

Innovative Retailer: Diamond Design’s Pat Thompson

Designing a letter-perfect approach to customer relations Long before CRM (customer relationship management) became the buzzword it is today, Pat Thompson was using the basic tenets of this approach to create his own brand of jewelry retailing. On some innate level, he understood that to build relationships with customers, he needed to rely on a…

It’s All Relative: Rising Sons

In the late 1930s, John H. Epp was a full-time warehouse worker at Piggly Wiggly/Safeway, the nation’s first self-service grocery store, supplementing his income by selling watches and men’s shavers door-to-door. In 1939, he outgrew his briefcase and opened a small shop, and three years later moved operations to Notre Dame Avenue—where Independent ­Jewellers still…

Eliza Page

229 W. 2nd St., Austin, Texas The fashionable 2nd Street district lends a nice shot of glamour to a city that prides itself on homespun cool. Holding down the center of this thriving pocket of downtown is Eliza Page, Austin’s premier jewelry store for country girls, fashionistas, and everyone in between. Owner Elizabeth Serrato’s personality…

Matt Stuller: Louisiana Lightning

The jewelry trade hasn’t been the same since Matt Stuller came to town For the debut of the View From the Top column, which looks at the jewelry business from the unique perspective of a chief executive, JCK couldn’t have chosen a more seasoned candidate. As the CEO of Stuller Inc., celebrating its 40th anniversary…

How to Handle High-End Watch Discounting

Q: What’s the best way to deal with the high-end watch industry’s growing concern about discounting? —Donnie Thompson, CEO, Windsor Jewelers, Augusta, Ga. A: “Discounting has been a problem over the years, so we’ve done what we can to align ourselves with companies that still allow us to hold margins, like Rolex. Breitling is another…

How to Boost Your Gold-Selling Business

With the precious metal’s price rising and store sales falling, can you reclaim your Midas touch? Graphics by Rod Little You’re all familiar with the myth of King Midas, who wished everything he touched would turn to gold. For a while he was a happy man, but in the end the wish became a self-inflicted…

JCK 5: Facebook Calls to Action

1. E.M. Smith Jewelers Chillicothe, OhioCTA: The first person to come dressed as a clown carrying balloons and a Diet Coke from Circle K received a $100 gift card. 2. Yelton Fine Jewelers West Chester, OhioCTA: For a four-day Trollbead event, the store sent followers on a treasure hunt for free-bead coupons. 3. Ben Garelick…

Retailers Reveal What They Learned From the Recession

The recession has broken many store owners of two retail habits that went from profit-killers to business-closers when the economy tanked two years ago: carrying too much inventory and poorly managing their cash flow.   “I’ve seen jewelers hold on to inventory for three to five years,” says David Peters, director of education for Jewelers of…

Opal

October’s birthstone is prized for its unique “play of color”—iridescent flashes that sweep across the stone as the angle of viewing changes. Varieties include white opal, Mexican fire opal, boulder opal, and, perhaps the most desirable of all, black opal, whose background of black, dark blue, dark green, or dark gray makes the spectral colors on…

Show Tips From a Gemologist

Gary Roskin, host of the Roskin Gem News Report (roskingemnews.com) and former gemstone editor for JCK, offers some tips for jewelers attending INTERGEM. If this is your first time at INTERGEM, don’t let its size lull you into thinking you need only a day to work the show. With so many fine-quality gems to see,…

Up, Up, and…Up

The Natchez Gem, Jewelry & Bead Show (Oct. 15–17) coincides with the Great Mississippi River ­Balloon Race. Showgoers who look skyward will see as many as 100 hot-air balloons floating over Natchez and crossing the Mississippi River. A weekend festival at Rosalie Bicentennial Gardens in downtown ­Natchez kicks off with Balloon Glow and continues with…

Industry & People

COMINGS AND GOINGS >>?Eric Sockol has joined Gemvara’s executive team as CFO. Before moving to the design-­oriented Web company, Sockol was CFO of TechTarget, an online IT media firm. >>?Frederick Goldman promoted Susan Chandler to senior VP of merchandising and brand management. Chandler will add brand management to her duties. >>?Jewelers of America welcomed three…

Fortunoff: The Rebirth

Northeast consumers connect Fortunoff with value, the tagline “The Source,” and its once-ubiquitous ads with Lauren Bacall. But industry associations aren’t as pleasant. In 2004, the family sold the 80-plus-year-old chain to hedge fund Trimaran Capital Partners; things soon went sour, and four years later, Fortunoff filed for Chapter 11 protection. Immediately after­ward, another investment…

More Trouble for Marange

The Kimberley Process finally permitted the export of thousands of controversial diamonds from Zimbabwe’s Marange fields, but two prominent industry institutions say jewelers still shouldn’t carry them. The 900,000-carat tender on Aug. 11 marked the first legal sales of diamonds from the area since November 2009, when the KP banned them from world markets after…

Helzberg Diamonds to Join AGS

Helzberg Diamonds is in the process of joining the American Gem Society, the 234-store chain confirmed to JCK. “Our culture and philosophy is in total alignment to that of the AGS: protection of the consumer; ensuring a well-trained, educated, and professional staff; and demonstrating the highest integrity in everything we do,” says Helzberg CEO Beryl…

JCK 5: In the Courts…

1. Englewood, Colo.–based Shane Co. is seeking an official exit from Chapter 11. The 20-store chain filed a reorganization plan that calls for Thomas Shane and various family trusts to retain ownership. 2. Los Angeles-based American International Gem­ol­ogists filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in July. Total assets are listed at $2,800 and liabilities at $216,724.11.…

New York Fashion Week Report

High Style, Low Hemlines Rule Runways Whites. Brights. Long hemlines and peekaboo sheers. The biggest trends coming out of New York Fashion Week Sept. 9–16 were a study in sartorial contrasts. Whether it was the color-happy ’70s-inspired looks at Marc Jacobs or the cool minimalism at Narciso Rodriguez, designers presented a wide range of styles…

10 Things Rocking the Industry

1. Stock Soon you may be able to do more than have Pandora in stock—you could have stock in Pandora. The Danish jewelry maker is planning to go public with an initial public offering, Bloomberg and Reuters reported. The company, the biggest name in the industry “bead craze,” certainly seems to have a healthy balance…

The New JCKonline.com

We worked hard this summer revamping?JCK’s online presence, brain­storming ways to make it better for you. I’m thrilled to let you know our results. We began in July conducting research—our motto is always “research first!”—via focus groups in New York City and a phone survey of retailers nationwide. We were interested in the role the…