September 2007

In to Africa

Discrimination—or Good Business?

an article on sparked a firestorm of discussion on our web site’s talkback forum. the article, posted july 17, outlines a discrimination lawsuit filed by the asian law caucus against nationwide jewelry retailer whitehall jewelers. the plaintiff is shereen attia, 24, of fairfield, calif.

A Who’s Who at German Gem-A’s 75th

in june, the german gemmological association celebrated its 75th anniversary, hosting europe’s first international gemmological symposium, entitled gemmology: the present and the future. gem expert and author antoinette matlins was there to report the highlights. one hot topic was the increasing use of coatings on diamonds, gemstones, and pearls.

JSA: Watch Out for Diamond Switch Artist

jewelers’ security alliance is warning that a diamond switch artist is working the area from oregon to southern california. the suspect has been involved in six switch cases on the west coast, according to the san diego police department. he typically asks to see the largest set of diamond earrings in the store.

Blue Topaz Arouses NRC Interest

many jewelers are yanking blue topaz from their shelves after the jewelers vigilance committee warned them the stones they are selling may not be in compliance with nuclear regulatory commission regulations. jvc said in a statement that, while the topazes pose no apparent health risk, they were not tested in nrc-licensed facilities, an action required by the energy policy act of 2005.

Gem Pricing Report

the colored stone market has experienced a marked increase in activity during the late summer. dealers are reporting sales of pink and blue sapphire, especially in smaller calibrated sizes. also selling well are exotic agates and quartz gems. this area continues to be the strength of the designer and custom jewelry market.

Topaz Alert

jeffery bergman, a gemstone expert based in thailand, has issued a warning for retailers and consumers to be aware of inexpensive topaz being sold with what he terms a “color-stability problem.” “in the last few months we have seen a significant increase in the volume of orangey to reddish to pinkish brown precious topaz on the market in thailand,” bergman said in an e-m…

Cultural Conflicts in Copyright and Patent Litigation

anyone who becomes a litigant in intellectual property lawsuits—whether wittingly or unwittingly—must understand four facts. first, federal courts have almost exclusive jurisdiction over patent and copyright lawsuits; state courts cannot, according to the u.s. constitution, deal with them.


we all know that first-half 2007 sales have been slow. the government reported a paltry 0.5 percent growth over 2006. considering that gold and diamond prices are up, we also know that means a real dip in unit sales. it would be easy to blame the poor performance on a stressed economy, and the likely downturn we’ll see in the coming months.

Handicapped Jeweler Survives Bridge Collapse

a disabled jeweler narrowly escaped death on aug. 1, when minnesota’s interstate 35w bridge collapsed beneath his van. marcelo cruz, 26, paralyzed from the waist down since being shot defending a friend years ago, was driving his modified van across the minneapolis bridge over the mississippi river during evening rush hour.

Strengthen Three Core Capabilities to Grow and Achieve More

i’ve coached many individuals on ways to become more effective salespeople, negotiators, managers, or organizational leaders. i’ve often noticed highly motivated and intelligent people struggle to learn and apply behaviors that could make them more successful. studying this phenomenon led me to discover three core capabilities that distinguish exceptional lifelong learners from peop…

Keep Employees Engaged for Management Success

the gallup organization drew on 10 million employee and manager interviews to learn how successful managers keep employees engaged. the result is a book called 12: the elements of great managing, by rodd wagner and james k. harter, ph.d. wagner discussed with jck how the concepts in 12 might apply to jewelers.


as a retailer, you’re constantly searching for a powerful and cost-effective method to position your store, your products, and your services directly in front of your customers, or potential customers. a well-thought-out, beautifully designed catalog helps to accomplish these goals. catalogs allow you to define your brand, show your style, and highlight your key jewelry and watch collections.

Is LVMH Eyeing Tiffany?

rumors that luxury behemoth lvmh is eyeing tiffany have boosted tiffany’s stock. neither company will comment, but the rumors, mentioned by reuters and the wall street journal, caused tiffany’s shares to jump 7 percent in one day. lvmh owns luxury brands like louis vuitton and chaumet, but its main foray into the jewelry industry has been de beers diamond jewellers, its partnership with de beers.

Global Competition

the most critical issue facing the u.s. jewelry industry is how it responds to increasing global competition, as the jewelry firms in other countries become more powerful each year. cheaper labor and lower costs have already pushed a large amount of u.s. jewelry manufacturing to offshore locations, such as thailand and, increasingly, china.

Developing New Forms of Consumer Advertising

as retailers, our biggest challenge will be how to effectively reach the consumer with our advertising message. communicating with the public as we have for years with the standard media (commercial radio and television) will diminish in effectiveness as satellite radio and digital recording devices increase in use and popularity.

Buying Trends Among U.S. Women

my background is european, and in european countries, women have a different approach to buying and wearing jewelry. they express themselves and their style with their jewelry and have a more playful attitude. many european women have a jewelry and watch wardrobe. they change their jewelry based on the occasion and their mood, expressing themselves and their style through it.

Responding to Changing Buying Patterns

the internet, and how it affects traditional distribution channels, will have a growing impact in each coming year. some high-end jewelry brands are partnering with larger, more visible retailers to make the buying experience as easy as possible for the consumer. that is what it’s all about, instead of frustrating consumers, who are quickly getting used to buying all sorts of products online an…

It’s Time to Run Faster and Jump Higher

other industries and businesses transform nascent ideas to products on the shelf far more quickly than the jewelry industry does. to compete effectively for the consumer’s discretionary dollars, retail jewelers need to trade in their old business model and replace it with lighter, more efficient versions.

The Viability of Jewelry

we believe the future viability of our products for the consumer, particularly gold primary-value items, is foremost. our concern includes consumer issues such as the environment. social responsibility messages resonate with the consumer. our industry is proceeding in a responsible manner, and we must communicate that clearly to the public.

Improving Cash Flow

improving cash flow may be the most important issue facing our industry over the next few years, followed closely by the need to fuel consumers’ drive to purchase. everything we do is affected by our ability to generate cash, but the seasonality of our business, coupled with a slower turn on inventory, has put tremendous pressure on all segments.

New York Diamond Company Sued

over 40 new york diamond dealers are suing new york’s a. taub diamond co. for $3.3 million, accusing the company of taking dozens of stones on consignment and never paying. listed as defendants are alfred “avi” taub; his brother, oren taub; his father, shalom s. taub; and shirin alains—all company employees, the lawsuit says—as well as shalom taub’s wife, ora.


in the article “metals: contemporary alternatives” (jck, july 2007, p. 76), the wedding band on page 78 was incorrectly identified as being from the triton collection by artcarved. it is from the artcarved collection and has a suggested retail price of $399. the contact number for it and the artcarved ring on page 82 is (800) 223-5364, and the web site is www.

For a Good Cause

since breast cancer awareness and research is the corporate charitable cause of rembrandt charms, it is donating 10 percent of annual proceeds from the sale of its breast cancer awareness charm to the cause. rembrandt aims to run a pink ribbon campaign during october—breast cancer awareness month.

In the Name of LVOE

jewelry designer rony tennenbaum has designed a lot of jewelry during his 10-year employment with fabrikant-tara international llc, but perhaps his most meaningful creations—commitment rings—will be sold this year. according to tennenbaum, the gay and lesbian community is an underserved market whose members frequently request commitment rings.

DTC Reorganizes Marketing Division

de beers is splitting its marketing and sales departments, a move that may affect its future advertising plans. in most companies, the sales and marketing functions work together, but de beers does not have a conventional business model. “sales” refers to how it divides rough among its clients; “marketing” refers to the advertising and promotion of finished diamond je…

CIBJO Meets With U.N. Secretary General

a cibjo (world jewellery confederation) delegation headed by president gaetano cavalieri met recently in geneva with united nations secretary-general ban ki moon at the 2007 session of the economic and social council. moon and the cibjo delegates discussed the jewelry industry’s efforts to eradicate poverty and increase awareness of environmental issues.

In to Africa

africa used to be tucked away in the back of the industry’s consciousness. that’s no longer true. it isn’t just blood diamond, which demonstrated how uncontrolled diamond resources can ravage a country. and it isn’t just de beers’ counterattack, which focused on “the good diamonds do” for the economies of southern african countries like botswana and sou…

Do We Sell Diamonds or Carbon?

the biggest threat to our industry is not synthetics manufacturers who turn carbon into diamonds. it’s commoditizers who want to turn diamonds back into carbon. for centuries, diamonds were revered as the ultimate expression of love. then, in the mid-1970s, the investment community began selling diamonds as a standardized commodity.

Doug Hucker

one of the big surprises that occurred at the jck show ~ las vegas was the rumor that doug hucker was leaving the american gem trade association as its president and chief executive officer. i use the word surprising because hucker, over the past decade, has been at the helm of what can only be described as a fractious, difficult to manage association, and he has managed it very successfully.

De Beers Chain Names New COO

cartier veteran hamida belkadi has been named chief operating officer of de beers diamond jewellers u.s. she was previously vice president of sales and marketing. she is a member of the new york bar and holds a graduate degree from columbia law school and the university of paris ii.

Vaux Collection in Philly to Stay in Philly

the soap opera in southeastern pennsylvania surrounding philadelphia’s academy of natural sciences mineral collections finally ended when, on june 15, the private sale of the vaux gem and mineral collection was quashed. ans sold most of its gems and minerals collection last year in a private sale to three prominent collectors, bryan lees, wayne leicht, and ian bruce.

New Product and Vision for the Future

award-winning jewelry designer, bench jeweler, and third-generation store owner lee krombholz custom made this 950 palladium ring combining his cad/cam (computer-aided-design/computer-aided-manufacturing) technology and master-level jewelry manufacturing skills. custom-designed palladium jewelry is the latest offering of krombholz jewelers, which has been in business more than 67 years.

Green Diamonds

the diamond industry has been heavily involved for years with resolving the issues surrounding conflict diamonds. the kimberley process has put the industry on notice that both governments and nongovernmental organizations are committed to stopping any trade feeding bloody wars or terrorism. diamonds—a luxury product that we could all live without—make a great target for such a camp…

Welcome, Jewelers Choice Sponsors

summer is coming to a close, but as fall nears, things are getting exciting at jck. the reception to our recently announced jck jewelers choice awards has been amazing. the jck jewelers choice awards is a new program that provides an online platform for manufacturers to submit product and retailers to vote on their favorites.

Tiffany Diamond on View at Smithsonian

the world-famous tiffany diamond is making its first-ever appearance at the smithsonian’s national gem collection in washington, d.c., and will remain on view until sept. 23. the loan of the diamond celebrates a $1.1 million gift from the tiffany & co. foundation to establish an endowment—to be known as the tiffany & co.

The JCK 2007 State of the Industry Report

what is the most critical issue facing the jewelry industry in the next couple of years, and how can we deal with it? that’s 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.

EBay Tightens Diamond Description Rules

internet auction site ebay has tightened its rules on how sellers can describe diamonds and diamond simulants like cubic zirconia. these changes follow numerous examples of sellers listing synthetic diamonds that were actually cubic zirconias or other imitations—a violation of the federal trade commission’s guides for the jewelry industry.

Harry Bulova Henshel Dies at 88

harry bulova henshel, former chairman and chief executive officer of the bulova watch corp., died june 29 in scarsdale, n.y, after a long illness. he was 88. henshel was the last family member to head the company founded in 1875 in new york city by his grandfather joseph bulova, who at the time was a 23-year-old immigrant from bohemia.

Consortium Acquires TechnoMarine

a consortium of businessmen and investment groups has acquired 100 percent of the shares of swiss luxury watchmaker technomarine group. the june announcement said the new owners include french businessmen gilbert ohayon and jean claude yana, credit agricole suisse private equity (acting in its own name and on behalf of private investors), and investment group cobepa.

Court Allows Alrosa/De Beers Sales

european antitrust regulators cannot prevent russian diamond producer alrosa from selling to de beers, an eu court ruled recently. in 2006, the european commission’s antitrust division said alrosa could not sell to de beers after 2009, ending a 40-year relationship. “for the first time in the history of the diamond market there is an opportunity for genuine competition,” said ec c…

Number of Swiss Watch Workers Hits 25-Year High

manpower in the swiss watch industry increased to 44,444 workers in 2006, a 6.5 percent gain and the highest number in 25 years, said a june report from the federation of the swiss watchmaking industry fh. male workers account for 54.2 percent of the total, female workers 45.8 percent. the workforce had fluctuated for several years around 40,000, but the new figures make 2006 the second cons…

Richemont, Polo Ralph Lauren Will Make Watches, Jewelry

fashion design house polo ralph lauren and luxury goods producer richemont have launched a joint venture to produce fine watches and jewelry. under the agreement, polo ralph lauren has created a new division called the polo ralph lauren watch and jewellery co. sarl to develop, manufacture, and distribute luxury watches and fine jewelry worldwide through ralph lauren boutiques and independent …

Swiss Watch Federation Wants Tougher ‘Swiss Made’ Criteria

the federation of the swiss watch industry fh has voted overwhelmingly to ask the swiss government to strengthen criteria for putting the “swiss made” label on watches, using an fh proposal. at least 80 percent of a mechanical watch and 60 percent of a quartz one should be manufactured in switzerland to qualify, it suggests.

Vendor Incentive Programs: Short- Term Gain, Long-Term Damage

the past decade has witnessed a rise in the use of vendor incentive programs targeted toward retail sales associates. this tactic is one of many used by branded companies to increase sales and gain market share in a competitive marketplace. typically, incentives take the form of a monetary reward for sales of a particular brand within a designated period of time.

Mechanicals on the Move

quartz mechanisms may dominate the watch business in volume, but mechanical watches are where the action is these days in mid- and upscale watchmaking—in new calibres, technical innovations, creative designs, and consumers’ growing fascination with them. that was amply demonstrated at this year’s major international watch shows in switzerland and the jck show ~ las vegas in th…

John Hardy Purchased

john hardy has sold his stake in his namesake firm in a management buyout headed by company president damien dernoncourt and creative director guy bedarida. hardy will no longer have a full-time position or stake in the company but will consult as a “brand visionary” and “brand ambassador.


Swiss upscale brand Longines in June was named official timekeeper of the prestigious Ascot racecourse in England. All Ascot races, including the renowned annual Royal Meeting in June, will be timed by Longines. Its logo will appear alongside the time of each event on TV and racecourse screens, and Longines clocks will be placed around…

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