September 2011

For Many Retail Jewelers, It's a Mall World After All

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Mobile Payment Plans

a guide to the rapidly expanding world of mobile payments

56 ct. Spinel and Diamond Drops Sell for a Staggering $1.9 Million

About five years ago, Brett O’Connor, a senior jewelry specialist at Sotheby’s, happened upon an impressive parcel of rough spinel acquired by a gem trader. Months later, he saw the same parcel in its polished form. The color, O’Connor says, was “a homogeneous, crisp, metallic, vivid pink.” Soon after, he lost track of the gems,…

Silver: Scott Kay’s Faith Line, M.C.L.’s Lady Gaga Cuff

Keeping the Faith Scott Kay first showed the industry his spiritual side in 2008 with his striking and vividly detailed ­Faith Collection. One hand-sculpted piece even depicted beads of sweat rolling off the face of Christ. “When the economy started crashing, there was so much negativity everywhere that I felt inspired to create the Faith Collection,”…

Gold: Arkansas’ Festive Red, White and Blue Celebration

Patriot Games When the Red, White and Blue Festival launched 12 years ago in Mountain Home, Ark., in the Ozark Mountains, the proprietors of the nearby Carter’s Jewel Chest were excited about the free, family-friendly June event (think kids’ games and fireworks). So in 2005, when a chance came for the store to serve as…

Bridal: Koehn & Koehn’s “Kiss & Tell” Sale, Earthy Lucifer Engagement Rings

A Kiss Before Buying On one summer day each year, Andy Koehn becomes a veritable kissing bandit. Of course, the owner of Koehn & Koehn Jewelers in West Bend, Wis., has some standards: He puckers up only for good clients, and the smooches get more robust depending on the frequency of their purchases. The occasion…

Diamonds: Lazare Kaplan’s Legal Woes, Rio Tinto’s Argyle Pinks

Case Not Quite Closed Lazare Kaplan International has settled its court case with its insurers, but its legal battles over an alleged $100 million in lost diamonds are far from over. In spring 2010, the New York City diamond manufacturer sued Swiss Re International, the Marine Insurance Company, and several other insurers, charging they failed…

Gem Pricing: Under Pressure

Diamond demand is high, but supply is low The U.S. gemstone market is in the midst of active trading. Diamonds continue to be strong, with some dealers questioning whether current prices are sustainable. More dealers are reporting resistance to prices in the finer-quality rounds. However, supply is still short in many categories and consumption remains…

The Belle of Van Cleef & Arpels’ Bals de Legende Collection

Taking inspiration from an author is no stretch for Van Cleef & Arpels; in 2010, the 115-year-old French jeweler saluted writer Jules Verne with its Les Voyages Extraordinaires line. Yet in this Proustian brooch, VCA was thinking of something bigger than books. The house’s new high jewelry line, Bals de Légende, fetes five famous masquerade…

5 Designers to Seek Out at the International Jewellery London Show

From Sept. 4 to 7, look for these talented designers at the International Jewellery London show. (Above)1. Celestial Fire ring in 18k rose gold with 7 ct. sunstone and diamonds; $4,250; Andrew Geoghegan, Leeds, U.K.; 44-113-307-0100; andrewgeoghegan.com   2. Anchor bracelet with onyx and garnet beads in silver; £186; Daisy Knights, London; 44-128-585-1399; daisyknights.com 3.…

The Lure of the Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair

The popular September show is drawing more Americans to the East At the end of this month, Patricia Faber, co-owner of the Aaron Faber Gallery in New York City, will visit the Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair for the first time.  Although Faber and her husband/partner, Edward, are ­primarily retailers who exhibit their vintage…

Plunging Into the Freshwater Pearl Revolution

With metal and diamond prices rising, the value and appeal of fine quality freshwater pearls is becoming a lot more obvious. On a buying trip to Zhuji, China, in March, Peter Bazar stumbled upon what he thought was a deal on 600 strands of 12 mm–13 mm white Chinese freshwater pearls. “I thought the price…

The Creative Class: 4 Innovators Staging Their Own Retail Revolution

Every month, we challenge ourselves to find an Innovative Retailer who meets our exacting criteria. And every month, the debate over those criteria begins anew. Does innovation need to be technological? (No.) Can something be interesting and new without truly being innovative? (Yes.) The four retailers profiled here accomplished a number of big, and very…

5 Ways to Spruce Up Your Store’s Website

Thinking about overhauling your website? Here are five tips to keep in mind. 1. Spring for good photos. “To do it right, the photography can cost more than the production of the website,” says Matthew Perosi, founder of Jewelry Website Advisory Group in Totowa, N.J. And don’t use CAD images in lieu of photos, he…

Stellar Jeweler Websites to Envy and Emulate

Five sites to give you ideas, inspiration, and motivation—plus stories of how these retailers became the masters of their domains As businesses of all kinds climb aboard the social media bandwagon, it’s easy to forget that having a website that draws traffic and drives sales is just as important as all the new media bells…

5 Tips for Setting Up Your Own F Shop

1. Choose the right developer. Greenwich Jewelers’ Jennifer ­Gandia met with six companies before partnering with Dotbox, also in Manhattan. She wanted a firm that could help her maintain a seamless experience between her website and the F Shop. 2. Make the F Shop look good. Some shops can be flat-out ugly. This isn’t the…

Future Shop: The Ins and Outs of Facebook Commerce

The emerging category of Facebook commerce lets merchants place “buy” buttons beside those noncommittal “likes.” Will the upstart sales platform take the jewelry industry by storm? In early July, David Rotenberg, owner of David Craig ­Jewelers, Newtown, Pa., posed a question to fans of his store’s Facebook page: “If we opened a Facebook store whereby…

For Many Retail Jewelers, It’s a Mall World After All

Reports of the death of the suburban shopping center have been greatly exaggerated. For 15 years, the West Ridge Mall in Topeka, Kan., was very good to Briman’s Leading Jewelers. But in the past decade, co-owner Rob Briman could sense a change. “As the 2000s began, business started declining,” he says. “2007 and 2008 were…

Princess Diana and Her Legendary Swan Lake Suite

On June 3, 1997—just three months before her tragic death—Princess Diana dazzled in a sky-blue beaded gown and splendid necklace of diamonds and South Seas pearls at the British National Ballet’s Swan Lake. “There were more pictures of her wearing this necklace than any other jewelry she ever wore,” says Arlan Ettinger, president of Guernsey’s…

JCK Asks…Chi Huynh

Pearls of wisdom from the genre’s most cutting-edge designer In honor of our September issue’s pearl ­spotlight, we couldn’t think of a better interviewee than Galatea founder Chi Huynh, the renegade designer known for his ­brilliantly audacious gem-nucleated and intricate hand-carved pearls. You may remember reading about Huynh’s latest creation in June’s JCK: Queen Beads—black…

The Education of Waris Ahluwalia

The actor/socialite/designer behind House of Waris mines the intersection between love and history Meet Waris Ahluwalia, founder of the House of Waris jewelry line, and you ­wonder whether you’ve just met a spiritual guru or Hollywood’s latest It Boy. Adorned in a black turban (the signature of his Sikh faith), Ahluwalia will tell you, in…

St. Kilda

71 ?5th Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. Australian designer Nora Kogan’s path to owning a shop in Brooklyn is as twisted as one of her signature pieces. Born in Odessa, Russia, and raised in Melbourne, Kogan lived in Austria, Italy, and Japan (with summer visits to the Moscow country­side) before settling in New York City in 2001.…

Meet the Rosemans, the Tenacious Trio Behind David Harvey Jewelers

Neither sleet nor snow nor recession can stop this family from growing its century-old legacy Jeffrey Roseman’s grandfather became a jeweler in 1914 and worked his way through the Great Depression in various jewelry-store jobs until he hung out his own shingle in Bridgeport, Conn., in the early ’40s. Jeffrey jumped into the family business…

Is Sales Tax Fairness Fair?

“The threat of having an Internet sales tax will stifle online innovation for small independents.” Sean Dunn, vice president J.R. Dunn Jewelers Lighthouse Point, Fla. Compete or Get Beat: In the 1990s, when Internet businesses emerged as the competition, retail jewelers like me were scared. How could we compete with stores that didn’t have the…

You’ve Got Email!

The hoopla over social media has eclipsed one of the oldest—and biggest—marketing opportunities of all With so much focus on social media, it’s easy to forget the technologies that came before it. First and foremost: email marketing. It isn’t exciting, nor is it new, but we spend a significant part of our day on email…

Customer Contact in the Information Age

Build tomorrow’s sales on what you know about today’s buyers There are two things you must do with every jewelry customer. The first one is easy—sell something. The second, however, is neglected by a surprising number of jewelers, not only in the way they handle the prospects walking through their door, but in the strategies…

Have You Met Lou Guarino…Yet?

Louis Anthony Jewelers’ owner has made a name (and a face) for himself all over Pittsburgh 1. What one advertisement elicited the most response, and why did it work?One of our most successful marketing efforts is our “Have we met…yet?” billboard. The billboard hasn’t changed much since 1992. It’s essentially a portrait of me with…

5 Things You Need to Know About Sales Tax Fairness

1. In 1992, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, ruled that remote sellers, such as Internet retailers, aren’t required to collect sales tax in states where the seller doesn’t maintain a physical presence.  2. In 1997, the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement (SSUTA) simplified state tax collection, enabling remote sellers to…

Jewelers Fight for LIFO

As legislators on Capitol Hill reconvene after their summer breaks, the members of the Jewelers of America Political Action Committee, or JAPAC, are hoping a recent trip to Washington, D.C., will help resolve some key issues before year’s end. Chief among them: the Last-In-First-Out (LIFO) method of accounting and sales tax fairness. JAPAC members made…

Sapphire

From the Latin sapphiru (meaning “blue”), September’s birthstone is universally in demand. While ruby is the term for the red variety of the mineral corundum, sapphire represents corundum in every other color. In consumer studies, blue sapphires are consistently ranked as the most popular; but among connoisseurs, purple, pink, and pinkish-orange sapphires are more sought-after.…

Industry & People

COMINGS AND GOINGS >>?Tim Murphy, former publisher of Modern Jeweler, has been appointed vice president of Trac Tech, a designer of RFID inventory tracking system tags. Murphy will drive sales and strategy for Trac Tech. >>?Charles & Colvard has named Robert Curry vice president of merchandise, production, and distribution. Curry was most recently a general…

Connecticut Passes Law Mandating Paid Sick Leave for Hourly Workers

On July 1, Connecticut became the first state in the country to require that companies provide hourly workers with paid sick leave. The law, which goes into effect Jan. 1, 2012, requires that employers with 50 or more hourly workers grant those workers one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours. Sick days…

Oregon Jeweler Derails Credit Card Scam

An Ashland, Ore., jeweler saved his jewelry store from a fraudulent transaction after receiving a suspicious phone call June 14. Ron Hansen, co-owner of Gold and Gems Jewelry, became suspicious when a man called and gave him credit card information to purchase a gold bracelet worth $1,700, adding that his assistant would pick up the…

Crime Claims Two Jewelers’ Lives

Two jewelers died as the result of crimes on the same day in the first week of July. Mehmood Ghaznavi, 52, of Houston, and James Wilder, 69, of Gulfport, Miss., were both killed during robberies on July 5. The crimes are not believed to be connected. According to the Houston Police Department, two suspects entered…

Wisconsin Jeweler Charged With Felonies

A Wisconsin jeweler was arrested July 13 after he allegedly didn’t deliver and failed to return jewelry to customers. Tyler Kosmoski, 41, owner of the Diamond Factory in Ashwau­be­non, Wis., has been charged with theft involving false representation of property and theft of movable property under $10,000. According to the Ashwaubenon Department of Public Safety,…

Diamond Prices Will Keep Going Up, Says De Beers

Diamond prices should continue to rise in the second half of the year, De Beers’ chief commercial officer Bruce Cleaver tells JCK in an exclusive interview. However, he does not expect them to increase as much as they did in the first half, when the Diamond Trading Company’s rough prices rose 35 percent. “We expect…

Sales Results From Swatch, LVMH & More

All but one of these companies are celebrating a stellar sales season. 1. First-half net profits at the Swatch Group soared 24.5 percent to a record $721 million. Sales were $3.9 billion, up 11 percent. 2. Sales at LVMH’s watch and jewelry division—which includes such brands as TAG Heuer, De Beers Diamond Jewellers, Dior Watches,…

Mumbai Diamond Dealers Vow to Defy Terrorists

The Indian gem trade vowed that it would not be deterred after two bombs exploded in the Mumbai diamond and ­jewelry districts July 13. “It is business as usual,” Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council vice chairman Sanjay Kothari tells JCK. “The terrorists want us to get panicked. We will show them that we won’t…

Before the Fall

It’s been a scorcher in Manhattan this summer, but the week of events coinciding with the JA Show at the Javits Convention Center was a great time to catch up with some of the coolest people in the industry. While most jewelers are still tentative (and understandably skeptical) about the economy’s slow return, several exhibitors…

Shopping in the Digital Age

A few weeks ago, I helped a friend look for a wedding dress at the Nordstrom at Santa Monica Place, a swanky outdoor mall located in the iconic Southern California beach city. Having found a summery white dress perfect for her backyard wedding, we approached the cash register, where an enthusiastic young sales associate “rung…

10 Things Rocking the Industry

1. Luxury In Romanov-era ­Russia, Peter Carl Fabergé’s gem-encrusted Easter eggs were the ultimate symbols of imperial glitz and glamour. The October Revolution of 1917 put an end to all that bourgeois extravagance. But the real blow to Fabergé’s legacy came in 1951, when the ­family, unable to afford a protracted legal battle, lost the…