September 2012

Retail Jewelry: The Next Generation

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Piaget Rocks a $340,000 Sapphire and Diamond Watch

Yes, it tells the time. But this dazzling Piaget watch has more in common with statement-making baubles than pragmatic timepieces. The circa-1989 watch, which is pebbled in emerald- and baguette-cut diamonds and sapphires, sold for $338,500—well above its estimated price range of $150,000–$200,000—at Christie’s June 15 Important Watches sale. Dubbed the Aura for its undeniable…

Professional Jewelry Making: Silver Locket—Part 1

The procedures in this article are standard practices for bench jewelers at this time. If not executed properly, however, they can cause harm. Neither the author nor the publisher is responsible for injuries, losses, or damage that may result from the use or misuse of this information. Safety Alert: Burs and other setting tools are…

Platinum: PGI’s Small Jewelry Retailer Study and More

The Survey Says… Platinum Guild International recently revealed results of its 2011 Independent/Small Chain Jewelry Retailers Sentiment Study of Platinum Bridal Jewelry. Produced by GfK Retail and Technology, the study offers insights into sales among 201 (or 17 percent) of PGI’s Preferred Partners Program, plus 202 small chain and independent U.S. stores. A few findings…

Silver: Hera Collection, Horsecka Jewelry, and More

Desert Silver When better to launch new looks than during the biggest market week in ­America? While making the rounds of the shows in Las Vegas, we spotted numerous new silver collections worth closer inspection. Here are just two you’ll want to consider stocking. Hera CollectionToronto-based Hera Arkarakas has been making jewelry for more than…

Gold: Stackable Jewelry, Aroc Urtu’s Rocky Origin, and More

Back to Stack The stackable craze continues. During jewelry week, manufacturers debuted new lines of stacking rings in both bridal—smaller diamond engagement rings as well as bands—and in fashion. For Plano, Texas–based Sylvie Collection, a new Petite line of complete diamond engagement rings features small cuts—0.30 ct. to 0.90 ct.—of fancy yellow diamonds in 14k…

Diamonds: Lab-Grown Diamonds Arrive at the GIA and More

Lab Groan In June, a parcel of 10 undisclosed lab-grown created diamonds showed up at the Gemological Institute of America’s lab in Hong Kong. The incident was announced in the Gems & Gemology monthly eBrief. The news comes on the heels of the International Gemological Institute’s May alert that 600 synthetic colorless diamonds were submitted…

Gem Pricing Report: The Corrections

Gem dealers are anticipating downward price shifts, but the market hopes to fend them off Current market conditions are consistent with the seasonal sluggishness expected during summer. Dealers report that activity has slowed in the commercial grades, but there is action at the high end. Heading into the important fall season—when retailers traditionally stock up…

From Sea to Store: Martin Katz’s Sea-Worthy Starfish Jewelry

Nature is an evergreen motif in jewelry design, but Martin Katz, one of Hollywood’s go-to red-carpet designers, isn’t fond of its creepiest, crawliest creatures. “Not everyone likes bugs,” he says of the recent industry trend of bejeweled insects. “They creep people out.” Starfish, however, “are very whimsical—not creepy at all. There’s something really wonderful about…

Gearing Up for the Fall 2012 Hong Kong Show

This month’s Hong Kong fair is a magnet for international buyers and exhibitors Now in its 30th year, the September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair is attracting an even greater international clientele, thanks to buyers looking for an entrée into the ­rising affluent class in China.  This year, designer Etienne Perret will be among…

Pearls of Wisdom

Sales tips from retailers who know how to keep those lustrous organic gems moving Nationwide, pearl jewelry accounts for just 2 percent of retailers’ total sales, according to the Jewelers of America 2011 Cost of Doing Business Survey, reflecting a truism in the market: Pearls may be pretty, but they’re not an easy sell. Even…

Mystery Metals: RUBEDO and Other Secret-Recipe Jewelry

J. Tyler Teague is a modern-day alchemist-for-hire who loves to prove the impossible possible. Between 2001 and 2003 he developed several castable 950 palladium alloys. The best of these was later bought and branded as TruPd by Hoover & Strong. Last year, this metallurgical gunslinger, president of JETT Research in Johnson City, Tenn., consulted with…

A Pinch of Platinum Could Be Just What Your Silver Jewelry Needs

Before germanium became the miracle anti-tarnish ingredient in silver, a small group of refiners discovered that platinum-group metals could whiten and brighten sterling as well as shield it from fire stain. Today, there are at least half a dozen silver alloys that rely on platinum and palladium to keep tarnish and fire stain at bay.…

The Chemical Appeal of Silver Alloy-Infused Jewelry

Scores of new silver alloys that claim to offer more shine than sterling for only a small premium have recently come to market, but the metallurgy has proved confusing to buyers. JCK makes sense of the chaos. Talk to silversmiths like Sam Patania about any of the dozen or so tarnish-resistant silver alloys that have…

How Jewelers Are Thinking Outside the Precious Metal Box

Titanium: It’s not just for golf clubs anymore. And if you think ceramic is only for knick-knacks, think again. As visionary designers push the boundaries of fine jewelry, so-called nonprecious metals are becoming more valuable to everyday customers. Titanium, cobalt, ceramic: This might sound like a shopping list to build a space shuttle, but these…

Can an Indie Jeweler Survive in a Big-Brand World?

With deep-pocketed fashion houses moving in and luxury labels becoming their own conglomerates, independent jewelers must choose their destinies carefully. In last month’s JCK, Market Intelligence columnists Tony and Leanne Argyle cautioned retailers about a growing superpower within many of their own stores: the brand. “Beware the double-edged sword of carrying high-profile brands,” they wrote.…

What Millennial Jewelry Buyers Want

Younger consumers think differently. Dr. Kit Yarrow has cracked their code. The “echo boomers,” also known as Generation Y—defined as people born between 1978 and 2000—is now the largest generation in U.S. history. And as this group grows up, makes its mark in the workplace, and becomes a demographic force to be reckoned with, it…

Retail Jewelry: The Next Generation

Social media was just the start. Now it’s super-powered smartphones, mobile salespeople, digital influence, and, yes, good old-fashioned storytelling. Here’s a peek at what’s on the ever-evolving retail horizon. Twenty years ago, few would have guessed just how markedly technology would change the retail landscape. Social media has replaced sale flyers, mobile point-of-sale systems are…

All Hands on Deco

In 1925, photographer Edward Steichen shot then-model Kendall Lee—later to be the actress wife of Oscar-winning director Lewis Milestone—for a Vogue spread called “The New Jewelry.” She wore diamonds. She wore pearls. She wore onyx. But most important, she wore Cartier, whose geometric designs and striking black and white jewels were the coolest of the…

JCK Asks…Coomi

On her circuitous path to 20 karat success It’s not surprising to learn that Coomi Bhasin once worked as a textile designer. Her jewelry—all waves, coils, beadwork, and tactile shapes—begs to be touched. Her past career as a landscape designer explains such nature-inspired collections as Trinity (recalling a pebble-strewn riverbank) and ­Serenity (evoking desert sand…

Fred Leighton, the Great Estate Artist

The designer’s new wholesale collection draws inspiration from the past while hinting at its future Fred Leighton has more than just sales riding on its first-ever wholesale jewelry line slated to debut this fall. With the Fred Leighton Collection, as the division is called, the vintage and estate brand has assumed the task of selling…

David Gardner’s Jewelers Shows Its Texas A&M Spirit

The store supports the university, and in turn, students support the store At Texas A&M University, it’s almost tradition that students who have been seriously dating get engaged during senior year. And though College Station, Texas, the school’s hometown, boasts about a dozen jewelry stores, sweethearts shopping for rings are likely to start their journey…

Amanda Pinson Jewelry

1110 Market St., Chattanooga, Tenn. A former discount shopping center, Warehouse Row has evolved into the hottest space in Chattanooga for indie designers to showcase their goods. After the buildings opened three years ago, jewelry retailer Amanda Pinson relocated her eponymous store from the Baggage Claim Building in Southside to her current minimalist downtown space.…

Like Father, Like Daughter at NOLA’s Hiller Jewelry

Following in her father’s footsteps led Lisa Biderman home to New Orleans When recruiting daughter Lisa to work in the business, Hiller Jewelry president Joe Biderman said pretty much exactly what his father-in-law, Jonas Hiller, once said to him. “Let’s try it out for a year and see if you like it,” recalls Joe. The…

Square: The Next Wave in Mobile Payment

How you can cash in on the cofounder of Twitter’s latest great innovation Café Grumpy, a renowned New York City coffee roaster with four locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn, tends to do things differently. Everything from the frowny-face logo to the $12 cup of coffee to the unique pour-over brewing techniques makes it apparent Café…

How Retailers Can Corral Customers

Five low- to no-cost ideas to get shoppers through your door Marketing is one of the more expensive costs for any jewelry store—and when times are tough, it’s one of the first things to get trimmed from the budget. In some ways, that’s not such a bad thing. As famed retail magnate John Wanamaker once…

Is a blog essential to a jeweler’s website?

“A well-polished blog lets you create added value for your brand.” Margaret Halpin, MarketerMMA InternationalAustin, Texas KEEP IN TOUCH: You’re staying connected with your customers off the sales floor and engaging with them outside the box of your website. Depending on your resources, a blog may be just the ticket. YOU’VE GOT PERSONALITY—SO SHOW IT:…

Michigan Jeweler Becky Beauchine Kulka Sings for Her Supper

1. What one advertisement elicited the  most response for you and why?“Sing for Bling” is a contest we’ve done twice in the last three years. To win a $2,500 shopping spree, people submit videos of themselves singing our jingle, or create their own jingle about the store. In 2009, the first year, it got a…

JCK5: The Best New Business Books to Hit the Shelf

A few of the best new business tomes: 1. Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself (2nd edition), by Erik Deckers and Kyle Lacy, gives practical tips for attracting business via sites such as Facebook. 2. Simple, by Alan Siegel and Irene Etzkorn, uses simplicity as a business axiom. (The…

Hired Up! How to Find (and Keep) Top-Notch Salespeople

“Hiring a new employee feels like a full-time job,” says Debbie Fox, owner of Fox Fine Jewelry in Ventura, Calif. “Even though I’ve gotten good at it, it’s always an educated guess. You never know what you’re going to get until they start.” It’s a sentiment shared by many independent jewelry retailers, who look forward…

Industry & People: September 2012

COMINGS AND GOINGS >>?Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry named Ryan Berg market president of its Texas operations and its Lafayette, La., location. Scott Berg will serve as market president of the two Lee Michaels locations in Baton Rouge, La., a Pandora franchise store in the Mall of Louisiana, and seven Gold Market stores the company operates…

JCKers in the News! Publisher’s Letter, September 2012

Welcome to the September issue of JCK and the beginning of fall! The summer wrapped up nicely with late July’s annual jewelry week in New York City. Anchored by the JA Show at the Javits Center and JCK Events’ LUXURY Privé show at the Pierre Hotel, the week included two of my favorite events, the…

Free From Convention: Editor’s Letter, September 2012

I didn’t expect to find a key to the future of retail in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, when I spent two weeks vacationing there in July, but nevertheless, there it was, free for the taking. I could walk through the city’s perfectly preserved Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, or enjoy a coffee…

10 Things Rocking the Industry: September 2012

1. High Jewelry It’s not too late to book a flight: The 26th edition of the Biennale des Antiquaires opens Sept. 14 at the Grand Palais in Paris. A venerable antique fair, the nine-day event is nevertheless a platform for modern luxury houses such as Boucheron, Cartier, and Dior to display their most exorbitant gem-set…