September 2013

Great Retail Expectations: What Does the Future Hold for Jewelers?

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Internally Flawless Briolette Diamond Pendant Sells for $11.2 Million at Christie’s

A star was born May 28 at Christie’s Hong Kong when this pendant sold for $11.2 million ($148,000 per carat)—achieving a world record as the largest internally flawless briolette diamond ever auctioned. The stone also received a name: the Star of China. (Buyer Tiffany Chen named it after her company, China Star Entertainment.) The D-color,…

Silver: There’s Something About Jewelry Designer Mary Esses & More

There’s Something About Mary Esses In 2002, São Paulo transplant Mary Esses followed her future husband to the United States. Armed with a degree in marketing and experience running an art school in Brazil, Esses combined all her passions, debuting an eponymous line in New York City (her new home) in 2004. Her signature fabric-like…

Gold: Stephen Webster Leads British Invasion of Couture & More

British Invasion Stephen Webster, a 37-year veteran of the jewelry industry and Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, proved his royal worth in June when he brought a contingent of up-and-coming designers—part of the British Fashion Council’s Rock Vault jewelry initiative—to Couture in Las Vegas. Webster carved out space in his…

Diamonds: Sixth-Generation Diamantaire Jade Lustig Regains Passion for Diamonds & More

Jade to Order Sixth-generation diamantaire Jade Lustig knows sparkling stones and how to fashion them into covetable collections. Her family business, De Beers sightholder Trau Bros., has a New York City–based division called S. Trau that sold loose stones. But when cutting facilities migrated to other countries, Lustig, who’d joined S. Trau in 1998, temporarily…

From Mine to Store: Coomi’s 20.73 Carat Conch Pearl Earrings

Leave it to Coomi Bhasin to create flowery earrings in girly pink hues that feel as grown-up as a Cartier timepiece. The ­Mumbai-born designer, whose Coomi line is known for its innovative use of texture and nature-inspired motifs, married an uncommon trio of materials—conch pearls, diamonds, and pink sapphires—in these magnificent drop earrings. “Every spring…

JCK5: Jewels to See at the 2013 Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair

Watch for these folks at the Sept. 11–15 Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair: (Above)1. 18k white gold ring with 9.74 ct. Brazilian Paraiba tourmaline and 0.47 ct. t.w. diamonds; $42,300; Lorenzo Jewels, Los Angeles; 213-233-4207; ljintl.com   2. Snake cuffs in silver, black rhodium and silver, and 18k yellow or rose gold-plated silver; $440–$500;…

Venice Hosts VicenzaOro’s 2013 About J Buying Event

The Italian port hosts VicenzaOro’s exclusive About J, Sept. 4–7 Early this month, 197 buyers from 39 countries will descend on the storied Italian city of Venice for an exclusive buying event known as About J. Just don’t expect jewelry to be the sole draw. “Going to Italy enables you to see how the Italians…

Golden Pearls Are Growing More Popular With Consumers

South Sea white and Tahitian pearls have a honey-colored sibling and its popularity is on the rise During the course of her 33-year career at Ben Bridge Jeweler, Laura Barringer hadn’t noticed much interest in golden pearls. Earlier this spring, however, a few sizable sales—two golden pearl strands in excess of $10,000 each to Chinese…

The Debate on Online Sales Taxes Continues

Some jewelers say online companies should have to collect sales tax just like they do. But that will take legislation—which may not be a sure thing If you ask retailers like John Henne, they say the Internet sales tax issue is all about fairness. “We’re not afraid to compete with the Internet,” says the president…

How Jewelers Can Revamp Their Websites Without Breaking the Bank

Building and beautifying your website doesn’t have to break the bank. In fact, it doesn’t have to cost a cent. Here’s how to start and how to add those bells and whistles. When it comes to online retail, success versus failure could be summed up with the age-old adage “Beauty is power.” Gone are the…

5 Jewelry Stores Are Put to the Test by JCK’s Mystery Shoppers

We sent five writers—all under the guise of being real shoppers—to five ­jewelry stores to evaluate each on customer service, ambience, and product selection (on a scale of 1–5, with 5 being tops). Here’s what their secret missions revealed. Edmund T. Ahee Jewelers20139 Mack AvenueGrosse Pointe Woods, Mich. Edmund T. Ahee Jewelers is a high-end…

Great Retail Expectations: What Does the Future Hold for Jewelers?

Want to know what your customers are thinking? There’s software—and, soon, probably an app!—for that. Facial recognition technology is just one of the innovations of the store of the future. The jewelry business is often maligned for lagging a few steps behind the larger retail industry when it comes to incorporating new technologies, customer experiences,…

Beverly Johnson Wears Van Cleef & Arpels’ Rose de Noël in Vogue in February 1974

Pajamas were cool in the early ’70s—and not just for nighttime. Spring collections showed evening dress that was a cross between daywear and bed­clothes. But how do you make loose knits and kimono shapes suitable for black tie? Add Van Cleef & Arpels. Take this navy ensemble ­modeled by Beverly Johnson in Vogue in February…

Houston Jewelry Designer Emily Armenta on Modern-Day Medieval Elegance

You should be able to see the Spanish influence in Emily Armenta’s jewelry. But you should also be able to feel it. The Texas-based designer is influenced, more than anything, by the work of 20th-century Spanish poet-playwright Federico García Lorca and his idea of duende: “a power and not a behavior…the struggle that one must…

Steam Heat: Trends & Ads in the August 2013 Fashion Magazines

What’s trending and who’s advertising in the August issues W Pushing• Skinny brass and silver stacking ring–style necklaces; oversize hand-carved cameo pendant on silver chain (“The fall collections zoomed from minimalism to maximalism in seconds”)• Art Deco–era platinum and diamond bracelet; white gold and diamond rosebud earrings (“Flaunt your assets with these seductive pieces”)Advertisers Glashütte…

Aspen Jewel Box Finds a Niche in Crowded Jewelry Scene

555 E. Durant Ave., Aspen, Colo. For a town of only 6,500 full-time residents, Aspen’s jewelry scene is remarkably crowded. There are some 25 stores that feature fine jewelry, making the competition among local retailers fierce. But Aspen Jewel Box owner Sarah Hunt has found a secret for success: Her intimate, uncluttered boutique, located in…

Star of Texas: Jeweler Jo Latham Brings Major Jewelry Style to a Midsize Market

When born-and-bred Texan Joanna Latham relocated to Brooklyn from Amarillo last year, she left a piece of her heart—and a pile of jewelry—behind. So the 40-year-old mother of three opened Jo Latham, a fine jewelry shop-in-shop in October 2012 inside high-end Amarillo gift store Et Cetera. The tiny outpost, which is composed of two 5-foot…

Three Weismans Take Shifts at Ohio Jewelry Store

If you’re selling yourself as a family store, have a family member in the store from open to close At Meyers Jewelers in Grove City, Ohio, family ownership isn’t simply a quaint fact designed to warm up a sales pitch—it dictates store protocol. Founder Meyer Weisman has a pact with his two sons, co-owners Jeff…

Which Social Video Platform Is the Best for Your Business?

It’s Vine vs. Instagram in the great video showdown of 2013 If you love the artsy brevity of Vine videos—but struggle with finding ways to jam shots of your jewels into its 6.5-second format—you might want to consider a new product from one of social media’s most popular names. Instagram, the ubiquitous mobile photography app,…

How Jewelers Can Maximize Their Online Conversions to Increase Sales

Ask not what buyers can do for you. What can you do for them? There are a couple of things all store owners know about their websites: how many visitors they get and how many inquiries those visitors make. But what about visitors who don’t make inquiries, who visit but aren’t ready to buy? Your…

The Adventures of a Young Indiana Jewelry Store

The 19-month-old Harrison Co. combines big customer service with small boutique charm 1. What has been your most memorable sale? I have an elderly gentleman client who was married to his wife for 35 years. They were vacationing in the Dominican Republic. They spent the whole day on the beach and had a great dinner…

JCK5: Tips on Maintaining ­Mutually Beneficial Vendor-Retailer Relationships

Marie-Helene Morrow, owner of Puerto Rico’s Reinhold ­Jewelers, offers tips for maintaining mutually beneficial vendor-retailer relationships. 1. If I’m doing business, I have to click with the person to click with the jewelry. When I look into the cases, I see the people, not the pieces. It won’t work if I don’t have synergy with…

Easy Ways to Boost Your Staff’s Spirits

In any retail environment, a happy sales staff makes for more pleasant workdays. But it’s also good for business. Healthy staff morale “clearly impacts productivity, profitability, customer service, turnover, and theft,” says David Javitch, president of business ­consulting firm Javitch Associates. “Happy workers tend to be more productive. If morale is high, employees feel that…

Jewelry Industry & People: September 2013

COMINGS AND GOINGS >>?Mark Vadon, who cofounded Blue Nile, is stepping down as chairman of the company and from its board Dec. 31. He will be succeeded as chairman by current CEO Harvey Kanter. >>?Paris jeweler Mauboussin has appointed ­Thierry Chaunu CEO for North America. Prior to joining Mauboussin, Chaunu was CEO for North and…

JCK5: Jewelry Industry Groups Give Back to Charity

Industry groups and organizations showed their giving side this summer: 1. The GIA and the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory at the Nelson Mandela Foundation have signed a memo of understanding to provide four elementary schools in South Africa with a Mandela Day Library. 2. Silver e-tailer EvesAddiction.com debuted a biannual $1,000 scholarship open to…

Jewelry Industry Crime Falls in First Half of Year

Jewelry industry-related crime fell significantly in the first six months of 2013, according to the Jewelers’ Security Alliance. The New York City–based industry group logged 740 incidents in the first half of the year, down from 844 in the same period last year. The amount of dollar losses also fell, to $35.3 million, from $41.1…

Back on the Road!, Publisher’s Letter, September 2013

Happy September! I’m writing from the American Airlines Admirals Club in Atlanta, having just finished two days at the SJTA Atlanta Jewelry Show. This fall is going to be full of major travel, as I’ve realized just how important it is to visit friends and clients in person, attend major industry events as a JCK…

Tours of Beauty, Editor’s Letter, September 2013

My twin sister, Julia, is in the midst of setting up her own business, a custom illustration service called Drawn for You. She’s always had a knack for making charming, funny, and true-to-life drawings of her friends and our family, and after her personalized greeting cards started to earn a following, she decided to make…

10 Things Rocking the Jewelry Industry: September 2013

1. Shows When LUXURY Privé debuted in summer 2011, it was hailed as the long-awaited luxury component of New York City’s jewelry market week. Three years in, the invitation-only show, which took place July 29–31 at The Pierre Hotel, upped the luxury ante with a new Designer Balcony featuring eight exhibitors, including BG Art—a fine…