Southern Jewelry News Digital Magazine

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Jewelry News • February 2024

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Vol 37 No. 2

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February 2024

Winter Park Jeweler Takes a Shine to Kwiat Program By Wanda Freeman

Florida fine jewelry store Be on Park stands out in more ways than one since Emily Dowling Williams took the helm in 2021. As an interior designer, she brought a certain splash to the store’s décor as well as its offerings, filling every corner and jewelry case with vivid color. And in less than three years she led her Winter Park store to become the only jeweler in Florida to partner with world-renowned diamond merchant Kwiat in its Mine to Shine program launched in fall 2023. “We’re in the jewelry business, and diamonds are everywhere,” Williams says. “This partnership is a way to differentiate our business from all the other jewelers. … What Kwiat has done is create a wonderful framework for tracking diamonds every step of the way, from mine to mount.” The Mine to Shine program assures customers of their diamond’s sourcing and quality throughout the process of acquiring the perfect ring: First, with the retailer’s help, they choose a rough stone, ethically mined from a known country that is conflict-free; next, the diamond is cut in one of the seven iconic shapes of Kwiat’s Tiara Diamonds, a selection of styles launched concurrently with Mine to Shine. The third step is the custom design process, working closely with the client. Finally, master artisans set the diamond in platinum or 18k gold. Kwiat donates a portion

Exterior of Winter Park, FL-based Be on Park.

Variety is the Spice of Life By Deborah Yonick Celebrating its 40th year in business in 2024, Variety Gem Co. of Great Neck, New York brings to retail jewelers nationwide, timeless, stylish designs adorned with sparkling diamonds and colored gemstones in gold and platinum. Variety Gem specializes in diamond and gemstone bridal and fashion fine jewelry, featuring popular categories like flexible

stretch jewelry, curve bands, and one-of-a-kind designs. Renowned for its high-quality craftsmanship and ethical sourcing, Variety Gem is one of the country’s leading bridal and fashion jewelry manufacturers. Its roots sprouted in 1971 when Effie Bezalel became a diamond cutter, immigrating to the United States from Israel a decade later. After working several years as a salesman in New York’s diamond district, Effie opened his

New for Variety Gem is their Mother of Pearl, diamond & gold collection of 24 bracelet, ring and earring designs.

own diamond wholesale company in 1984. Soon after, his brothers Moshe and Yehuda Bezalel joined him. Initially focused on trading loose diamonds and precious stones, Variety Gem quickly expanded into manufacturing finished jewelry. The Bezalel brothers reflect on the importance of their family history in the business, sharing their journey from Afghanistan to Israel and finally to the United States. Each brother has a distinct role in the company, collectively overseeing operations. Variety Gem offers more than 2,000 styles. Effie, president of the company notes, “by immersing ourselves in the jewelry market, understanding retail operations, and mastering manufacturing, we have created a comprehensive line of fine bridal and fashion jewelry.” Yehuda Bezalel, vice president of manufacturing explains, “Variety Gem prides itself on Please see Variety page 28

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of its Mine to Shine sales to a cause named charity: water, an organization that supplies clean water to countries and families in need. Williams says the precise process can take about three months, and a local client can begin in her store by viewing the rough stones online with her. If the client plans to propose on short notice and can’t participate in the longer Mine to Shine process, they can choose a ready-made Kwiat Mine to Shine diamond at Be on Park. Store-held diamonds also go through Kwiat’s rigorous Mine to Shine tracking and will come with papers certifying their path. Indeed, in the early weeks after launching the partnership, Williams says she sold three such diamonds from her store. Williams says hers is one of only 10 stores around the country to partner with Kwiat during its launch of Mine to Shine. The program is one of several ways she is carving her own niche in jewelry. She still works as head interior designer alongside her husband at their design-build firm Z Properties and maintains a sister store, Clementine, that offers tableware. When she bought Be on Park, Williams came with little jeweler experience but an extensive background in retail and buying – and was a client of Be on Park previously. However, the customer service See Kwiat page 4

The Write Stuff

By Diana Jarrett The diamond landscape is undergoing an enormous shift currently as retailers and consumers shuffle to determine the correct place for earth mined diamonds and LGD, or lab grown diamond products. Besides ongo-

ity components of each stone. From there, one can extrapolate a retail price range for the diamond using a Rapaport diamond pricing grid - or other pricing data available. The process of diamond grading adds a cost that the vendor must absorb. So not every

ing price fluctuations for LGD as these products proliferate, natural diamonds are experiencing price adjustments this past year as well. To Cert or Not to Cert Central to the discussion of diamond values are lab reports, also called diamond certificates. They do not assign a dollar amount to the stone being examined. Rather, grading labs deliver an unbiased analysis on the qual-

diamond comes with a cert. Most large size diamonds, certainly those of higher quality carry a lab report, since the consumer expects that. Not every stone needs a cert for it to sell says Raphael Weil, founder of World Wide Weil, Miami, FL. “I think it’s all about trust because my customers keep telling me that. [They say] we Please see Stuff page 35


Jewelry News • February 2024

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KWiat

Continued from page 3 ethic was familiar, and her design background translated well. “It’s like putting a room together. I find a lot of similarities – but then I have a non-linear mind!”

The store was locally owned and had a well-established client base, so Williams assumed at first that she would leave everything as it was. “But then I needed to make it more like me,” she admits. “I’m very eclectic, and colorful, and the store was more classically

Kwiat jewelry styled by Emily. Emily is an interior designer as well as a jeweler - and it shows in her store.

Emily Dowling Williams, owner of Be on Park.

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Established 1988 Editor, Bill Newnam bill@southernjewelrynews.com Publisher, Chris Smith chris@southernjewelrynews.com Administration and classified advertising Martha Osswald martha@southernjewelrynews.com Staff Writers Wanda Freeman Paul Holewa Dianna Jarrett Deborah Yonick Vice President Sales Elesa B. Dillon elesa@southernjewelrynews.com

Contributing Writers Brad Huisken Robert James Diana Jarrett Mia Katrin Chuck Koehler Joel McFadden George Prout Southern Jewelry News 2006 New Garden Road - Suite 208 Greensboro, NC 27410 Phone: 336-389-1950 Fax: 336-389-1952 www.southernjewelrynews.com email: info@southernjewelrynews.com Any views or opinions presented in this publication are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Southern Jewelry News.

based. Now it’s about 50-50. I sell traditional pieces as well as more unique offerings in every color and size you can imagine, from stud earrings to tennis bracelets.” Her confidence is at play when she makes jewelry purchases that some might consider risky. “I’m an adamant jewelry lover, and I think when people love something, they know something about it,” she says, adding that she has retained her existing client base and built a “huge following” based on the changes she has made. “I do tend to buy with people in mind. And I buy what I love – I’m not afraid to buy that way. I think, if I love it, I can sell it.”

Kwiat Mine to Shine ring.


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Jewelry News • February 2024

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The Story Behind the Stone

Go Rare or Go Home

By Diana Jarrett In an increasingly competitive gemstone landscape where jewelry is abundant and prices are all over the map, it takes a lot more know-how to stock the pieces that can close the sale. We can show major brands that are stylish, but so can the store down the street. We can include individual designers, but getting quantity when we need it can be a challenge. Each year Pantone delivers the color of the year, which may help us project what colors consumers will favor in 2024 - then

again it may not. For the record Pantone, offers us Peach Fuzz for 2024, which can take a bit of interpretation to land on the exact tone they are projecting. Is it pale peachy-pink? Or is it the beige tint of actual peach fuzz? We don’t know. Offering the Hard to Find What we do know is that in a sea of brilliant gemstone options there are many that woo an avid collector. But if there is one word which causes the jewelry fan to stop in her or his tracks, it’s the pronouncement that something is rare.

In the world of jewelry, however (as contrasted to the more erudite rockhounds) a gem should be rare and beautiful at the same time in order to capture the heart of a collector. Let’s take a peek at some stones that truly are rare - some more than others. Still they are worth keeping top-of-mind to engage your loyal customers. They expect you to guide them in curating a jewelry collection worthy of keeping and passing down to their heirs. Alexandrite. Once called the “emerald by day, ruby by night”, this elegant stone originally found in Russia’s Ural Mountains is now sourced elsewhere, like Brazil. Stones from differ-

Tanzanite. A couple decades back, promoters were telling us that Tanzanite was a ‘generational gemstone’. It is now a new generation, and this unusual variation

Diana Jarrett

Gents Tanzanite ring. Credit Mark Schneider.

3-Stone Alexandrite Ring. Credit Wixon Jewelers. ent global deposits often exhibit 2 different hues - rather than the classic green and red. No matter where this stone is sourced, it is endlessly fascinating to the owner and fortunate viewer who marvel that a stone can entirely change its color under different lighting.

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of zoisite is still around. But it’s still rare, nonetheless. It can be found in one very small region in Tanzanite - and nowhere else. So, thinking reasonably, it will be completely mined out someday. The deposit is roughly 7 km wide by 2 km long, and that’s it. Besides its scarcity, Tanzanite is produced in a head turning blue-violet that is undeniably Tanzanite. Nothing else looks quite like it. Black Opal. These natural gemstones have taken an upward trajectory in the last few years. There are of course so many opal varieties. They are divided into precious opal (with the dazzling play of color phenomenon) and common opal which exhibits a rainbow of colors yet without the opalescent play of colors. But black opals are the drama queens of this species. Radically colorful and highly sought after, black opal is hard to acquire - and its steep price tag bears witness to its rarity. Red Beryl. Here’s another beauty that has limited quantities and is found in an unusually sin-

gular region of Utah. As the name suggests, this rosy stone comes from the same family of gem minerals that give us aquamarine and emeralds. Yet, it’s far less available and even when found, very few specimens are considered gem quality. The red rarity is a true collectors dream. Since there are not many large crystals of this stone, we’ve found it becoming the adored accent stone on custom jewelry. Painite. If you don’t know about this stone, you should, tout de suite. Everybody it seems yearns for what they can’t have - and many rare stones offer the promise of finding something that no one else has. Since we’re on the topic of rare gemstones, we can’t miss this one, even though there are very few of them to be found - in the world. Painite is a lovely deep crimson gem mineral with a Mohs hardness of around 8 making it ideal for jewelry. But since few have been unearthed, you are forgiven for not being more familiar with the material. Thus far, this stone has only turned up in Myanmar (Burma), and Madagascar. As you consider what to show your customers this year, make sure to offer some rare or hard to find stones for them. It will help your clients see themselves as true collectors, curating with intent. And positions you as the authority they need to keep close by to make their jewelry collection worthy of passing down to the next generation. Award winning trade journalist and gemologist Diana Jarrett is a Registered Master Valuer Appraiser and a member of the Association of Independent Jewellery Valuers (AIJV). She’s a popular speaker at conferences and trade shows. Jarrett writes for trade and consumer publications, online outlets, her blog: Color-n-Ice, and www.jewelrywebsitedesigners.com. Contact her at diana@dianajarrett.com, visit her website at www.dianajarrett.com, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter (Loupey).


Jewelry News • February 2024

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The Retailer’s Perspective

Jewelry 101, or maybe 102 By Chuck Koehler It’s been a while since I’ve written about some of the more confusing aspects of our industry that many of our newest members don’t understand. Here are a few of the most common questions I get asked to explain. The holes under the diamonds means it’s real Many people think that’s how you can tell if something is real or fake because it has the holes underneath. Most real jewelry has the holes, and most costume jewelry doesn’t. But things are a changing.

Many pieces of fine jewelry (that term is subjective) manufactured today don’t have them. So, what the heck are those holes there for anyway? And no, it’s not to let the light through the diamond so it sparkles more. To get to the bottom of this, you have to go way back to the early 1900s. There was a large manufacturer that made thousands of rings a day. One day, one of their employees made an observation that if they drilled the hole all the way through the mounting, they could recover the gold shavings to the tune of something like one half of 1%.

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If you’re making a thousand rings a day, one half of 1% adds up to real money real quick. They could deliver the same ring, for the same price, but at a lower cost, and no one noticed or complained. I wonder if that person ever got a pat on the back, for that discovery. Pretty soon everyone started doing it and it just became the industry standard. There was never a need for it with costume jewelry because they use non-precious metals. So back in the day, that was a pretty good way to tell the real from the fakes. But, there is an urban legend that the holes were there to let the light in and make the diamonds sparkle, which is not true. In a properly cut diamond, the light goes in the top, bounces around a while, then pops right back out the top in a different spot, causing it to sparkle and shine. The hole in the bottom of the mounting doesn’t come into play in this equation. Also, if the ring is tight against your finger, and it’s all gunked up with years of whatever that is we all see every day, how is any light supposed to get in or out of there anyway? Today’s trend is to ‘not drill’ holes all the way through the mounting any more. Why, you ask? Because if you have 135 diamonds in the incredibly thin shank of your micro-pavé engagement ring, then you will have 135 holes in the already thin shank of your ring. Those 135 holes remove a tremendous amount of structural support and leave you with practically nothing holding your ring together. Bump it on something, ever so slightly, and it’ll break in 5 places and you’ll lose 17 diamonds in an instant. So nowadays the trend is to not drill all the way through to keep the structural integrity intact. So, now you can’t tell if it’s real or fake simply by looking for the holes beneath the gemstones. Karats vs. Carats Carats, measures the weight of a gemstone, whereas Karats, measures the percentage of precious metal in a piece of jewelry. I can only assume that long ago, in the dark ages, someone in one part of the world made up the term carats, and someone in another part of the world made up the term karats. Imagine their surprise when they finally met? Let’s discuss ‘karat’ first. We seldom spell the word karat

in our industry. We simply use a capital ‘K’. 14 karat white gold is 14KWG. If it’s 14 karat yellow gold, its 14KYG. But, what exactly does ‘karat gold’ mean? The easiest way to explain it is to think about it using 24 BBs. And remember, you always have to have 24 BBs! 24 is the magic number. If you put 24 pure gold BB’s in a crucible and melt them together, you’ll have 24K gold. If you take one pure gold BB away, and replace it with a BB of another metal (remember, you always have to have 24), and melt them together, you’ll have 23K. So in a nutshell, 18K gold is 18 pure gold BBs and 6 BBs of another metal. 14K gold is 14 pure gold BBs and 10 BBs of another metal. If that other metal is nickel, you’ll have 14KWG. Now let’s talk about carats, which is how we weigh gemstones. A carat was originally the weight of a carob seed, which was thought to be the most consistent weight. If you look up ‘carob seeds’ on the internet, you’ll see how wrong they were about that. When we’re discussing the weight of a gemstone, we’ll either say it’s a half a carat or its 50 points. The easiest way to understand carats and points is to compare it to our dollar bill. A one dollar bill is made up of 100 pennies. A one carat gemstone is made up of 100 points. Half a dollar is 50 cents, half a carat is 50 points. But, since gemstones are rarely exactly 50, 75, or 100 points, when we’re discussing them as carats, we generalize. If a stone weighs between 42 and 56 points, we’ll just say it’s a half carat. Whereas with points, we’ll say exactly how many points it weighs, such as 42 or 56 points. Confused yet? Let’s keep going. Grams vs Pennyweights and the Troy Ounce The origins of the pennyweight goes back to the Middle Ages, while grams came into play in the late 1700s. Both essentially do the same thing, which is to weigh precious metals. Both originated in the old world across the pond, and both are increments of a Troy Ounce. Pennyweights, abbreviated ‘dwts’, are used by about half of the world, and grams are used by the other half of the world. Most pawn shops and gold buyers deal in grams, while most jewelry businesses deal in dwts. But, re-

Chuck Koehler gardless of whether or not you deal in grams or dwts, they are both based upon the Troy ounce. There are 20 dwts to a Troy ounce, and there are 31.1 grams to a Troy ounce. That ‘.1’ is the single reason why I work exclusively in dwts. Okay then, what the heck is a Troy ounce? There are basically two systems to measure weights above an ounce. One is the Troy ounce, and the other is the avoirdupois ounce. What, you’ve never heard of an avoirdupois ounce? The basic difference is one is used to weigh precious metals and pharmaceuticals, and one is used to weigh everything else. For the most part, in today’s world, the only people that use Troy weights are people like us that buy and sell precious metals, everyone else uses that other one that’s hard to spell and even harder to pronounce. The post office, FedEx, and UPS all use avoirdupois. Heck, even your average pot dealer on the corner uses avoirdupois. The scale you’ve got on your counter is a Troy scale, or at least it better be. Okay, be honest, who just went and looked to see if your scale is Troy or avoirdupois? Hah. I actually use both at my store. I use one to weigh metals, and one to weigh packages for shipping. I hope that helps clear up some of the confusion that we’ve brought upon ourselves. Happy Valentine’s everyone. Chuck is the owner of Anthony Jewelers in Nashville, TN. Chuck also owns CMK Co., a wholesale trade shop that specializes in custom jewelry and repair services to the jewelry industry nationwide. If you would like to contact Chuck or need a speaker or instructor for your next conference/event he can be reached at 615-354-6361, www.CMKcompany.com or send e-mail to info@ southernjewelrynews.com.


Jewelry News • February 2024

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Applied Marketing 101 Predicting the Valentine’s Day Echo Bounce in Stud Demand By George Prout

For me, there is nothing more fun in this business than guessing trends correctly. And over the years, we have witnessed some amazing trend items that have produced important revenue streams, as well as market share expansion, provided that you saw them coming and reacted with the right advertising and inventory inputs. In the September issue of Southern/Mid-America Jewelry News my article (The Approaching Tsunami of Fashion Diamond Jewelry Demand) predicted massive demand for lab grown diamond stud earrings, and now with the benefit of seeing December’s sales figures, that prediction has turned out to be pretty accurate. Of course, by the time you read this, the Christmas rush will be well past, but you can use this information for predictive value as you prepare your store for Valentine’s Day. Remember the 7-stone marquise bands and the S-link tennis bracelets from the early ‘90s? Or how about three-stone at the turn of the century? And then there was the Journey squiggle, and then Love Knots, two short-lived but nevertheless important trend items that marked the end of the era of the DeBeers’ “Beacons”.

And perhaps you had fun with those ‘dancing diamond’ pieces featuring a patented mounting that allowed diamonds to ‘vibrate’ within a frame. There are many lessons that can be learned from the ways in which these trends initiated, accelerated, reached a plateau, and then experienced decline. But for the purposes of this article, let’s consider what happens six weeks after the manifestation of a major trend at Christmas. What can we learn from prior history that will allow us to maximize future selling opportunities? In my experience, there is a magical “Tipping Point” that can occur sometime around December 18th, where male gift givers seem to spontaneously settle on a key item, buying it en masse, such that on Christmas Day, a statistically significant number of women receive a gift that is the product of this serendipitous “herd” behavior. And in subsequent days, as the friends of these fortunate women learn about these gifts, an organic shared FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) psychology manifests, creating a second consumption wave at Valentine’s Day as this group of women ask the men in their lives for the trend item.

This is a really important insight, and if you use it properly, you can ramp up not only your February transaction counts, but also your market share, in a way that will have a powerful longterm impact on your future profitability. Diamond studs have dominated the Edge Retail Academy KPI reports for several years now, but in 2023, extremely large lab grown diamond studs found an exponential zone in the sales curve because of breakthroughs in consumers’ perceived value caused by a precipitous decline in prices. And special significance in this particular trend can be found in the fact that these very affordable, much larger stud sizes in many cases effectively obsoleted her current studs by rendering them comparatively microscopic. It’s important to recognize that the best way to take advantage of this opportunity is NOT to maximize margins. Yes, you can make screaming hot margins selling a few pieces. But if instead you price them for volume, you can radically alter the playing field in your local market. Most importantly, for the vast number of women, lab grown studs represent a “Gateway Drug”, their very first experience with lab. And

given both the size and incredible beauty of these diamonds, it’s reasonable to assert that when she wears them, she will also begin to experience a benevolent addiction that can only be satisfied by receiving new diamond bracelets, hoops, necklaces, rings and perhaps even larger studs than the ones she just received. It’s also important to recognize that unlike mined diamonds, where small increments in price have historically failed to deliver noticeable changes in perceived value, the value curve in lab is pretty dramatic. For example, in mined studs, a shift from $599 to $999 might allow the purchaser to move from ½ to ¾ ctw, whereas the same shift in retail spend in lab studs will allow the consumer to move from 1 ctw to 2 ctw studs (the 2 ctw studs priced at key, if you’re buying them right). That’s a big deal, when you consider what else in your store is available for $999. But when you move outside the store, and consider the alternate luxury items that are competing for luxury spend, the current lab value curve is approaching a level of invincibility. Let’s consider a purchase level of $2500. At the Louis Vuitton store, she can get a pretty nice handbag. And compared to 1 ctw diamond stud earrings, which might hit that retail in a nice quality, I’m thinking she’d rather go with the Louis. But if you’re buying them right, you can now offer her a pair of 4 ctw lab diamond studs for the same price. So, given a choice between a nice Louis Vuitton handbag, or a pair of 4 ctw studs, which do you think she’ll pick? My money’s on the studs. Given these considerations, you must remember that it’s very hard to radically alter shopping patterns and market share, and

George Prout doing so requires an enormous investment in advertising with a corresponding reduction in margins on featured items. But with the amazing disruption that’s taking place in the diamond business right now, I submit that the current scenario allows you to possess a once in a generation opportunity to disrupt your local market, in a way that potentially creates a lasting beneficial impact. The Echo Bounce in Monster LGD studs is coming. And remember: every pair you sell becomes a walking, breathing billboard that tells her friends where they, too, can participate in this New Diamond Era. Don’t let this very special Valentine’s Day opportunity pass without taking maximum advantage of it. Your future self will thank you for the decisions you make today to surf this important consumption wave. Class Dismissed! George Prout is a 50-year veteran in the jewelry business, having sold his first engagement ring as a 17 year-old sales associate working at Kay Jewelers in 1974. SInce then he has worked for companies that rose to top three status nationally in sales volume to Independent Jewelry stores. Currently he is President of JB Bhanderi, the world’s largest CVD grower and maker of the Surreal Diamond brand. He can be reached at george@surrealdiamond.com.

Professional Bench Jeweler to the Trade When your company is in need of a reliable repair shop. Chuck Koehler, Jeweler/Gemologist 992 Davidson Drive, Ste J Nashville,TN 37205 615-354-6361 www.CMKCompany.com


Jewelry News • February 2024

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On the Move

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Jewelry News • February 2024

Virginia jewelers host Jewels for Children raffle Raise record funds for Children’s Hospital Foundation

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(RICHMOND, Vir.) - A brilliant raffle offering exquisite jewels donated by 10 Richmond, VA jewelers - the Jewels for Children Raffle - raised more than $22,950 for the Children’s Hospital Foundation at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) during the 2023 Children’s Hospital Foundation Ball - a record amount for the annual jewelry raffle. Funds raised by the jewelers will help to support the Children’s Hospital Foundation’s efforts to address food insecurity.

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(L-R) Caitie Sellers, Dransfield Jewelers; Maggie Smith, Dransfield Jewelers; Jane Sternheimer, Charles Schwarzschild Jewelers; Cheryl Jarvis, Victoria Charles Jewelry; Cheryl Fornash, Cheryl Fornash Jewelers; Brian Cowardin, Cowardin’s Jewelers; Robin Salzburg, Lustre by Adolf; Daniel Wright, Lustre by Adolf; Sarah Hardin, Carreras Jewelers; Everett Williams, Schwarzschild Jewelers; Not pictured: Fink’s Jewelers. Photo Wendell Powell Studio

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Daniel Koffman has assumed the duties of Vice President of Sales for the Box Brokers Group as of the beginning of 2024. Koffman brings 20 years of experience to the job after being Vice President of Sales and Operations for ICE Agency International, Inc. based in Toronto, Canada. In this pivotal role, Daniel will spearhead the company’s strategic sales initiatives, driving growth, and fostering key client relationships. “Our company’s sales have grown significantly since we began focusing on and producing innovative products that address real world concerns for independent jewelers,” says Jim Porterfield, owner of Brea, California-based BBG. “The SmartPro line of displays and packaging have been successful in saving our customers time and money and the resulting expansion of our sales department requires an experienced, qualified leadDaniel Koffman er. Daniel fits very well within our growth plan as his experience makes him a perfect fit.” Daniel can be reached at 416-797-9329 or Daniel.K@BoxBrokersGroup.com. Learn more about Box Brokers at BoxBrokersGroup.com.


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By Joel McFadden & Bonnie Strong The customer base that you build for your business is the most precious item you have. Without your customers, you would have no business at all. The different types of customers that will cross your path has quite a variety. A difficult variety to deal with is the Friends & Family Customers. There are the advantage seekers. You know the sort, that woman you have known for 30 years. Never mind the fact you haven’t actually spoken in the last

20 years, her son is getting married now and needs a wedding set. She wouldn’t dream of sending that work to anyone but you! She knows it’s a short notice thing, but you’ll do it for her, after all, you’ve been such good friends for decades! Not a problem! Happy to help an old friend who wants to give her son the best! Days of backand-forth discussions and design layouts have finally crafted the perfect set design. The cost is laid out clearly and even adjusted with a reasonable % Friends & Family discount. Then the outcry begins.

“I THOUGHT WE WERE FRIENDS! WHY ARE YOU CHARGING ME THAT MUCH?” In the end, they thought you would do the work for next to nothing because of your friendship. Their value of you, your work, and your friendship is equal to the value of the order they don’t want to pay. Then there are those well meaning family and friends that truly have no idea what you do. They ask you to fix some broken item that has nothing to do with anything remotely related to the jewelry industry. They ask

Joel McFadden because you have a workbench and in their mind, that means you should be able to do it. Or they think you don’t know anything at all, but since you work with jewelry, perhaps you might know who they can go to when they need to have a ring made or bracelet fixed. They may be wellmeaning, but they have no value or appreciation for the work they don’t know a thing about. Those that do understand what you do and have an appreciation for your craft are willing to make sure you are compensated for your time and labor. These friends and family will gladly bring the work to you and be genuinely appreciative of the Friends & Family discount you offer them. They will be the ones proudly showing off your work to others and telling them how great you are. Their value of you, your work, and your friendship can not begin to be measured by a dollar value. It’s basic human nature in us to want to do something extra special for those friends and family we care about. However, it doesn’t have to be the huge problem or challenge that it can become. When a friend or a family member comes into the business for something, they are a customer first. Apart from offering them a Friends & Family discount on the final bill, they are treated just like any other customer. It’s a simple concept to just follow our normal procedures even when it is a friend or family member. We have an intake procedure for new orders. We have pricing approval requirements. We have a schedule for the workflow. We have down payment requirements and expect a payment in full at the time of delivery. We follow the same procedures for any other customer that walks in the door. When we redirect and guide the friends and family members through the same customer process as everyone else, there seems to be fewer complications. There have been many occasions when the thought of “It’s just (fill in the blank with name of friend or famPlease see Joel page 16


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JSA reports surge in crimes against traveling salespersons and retailers not in retail stores The Jewelers’ Security Alliance (JSA), a non-profit trade association providing crime prevention information and services to the jewelry industry since 1883, has alerted the industry about a recent trend in off premises

crime. There has been a surge in crimes committed against jewelry personnel not in stores, such as thefts and robberies of traveling salespersons and retailers carrying jewelry. The robberies and thefts occurred on highways and

streets, in parking lots, outside hotels and retail stores and at a gas station. JSA Recommendations: 1. When leaving sales calls or any jewelry premise jewelers must be alert for anyone follow-

ing them. Whether the jeweler is in a car or on foot, it is wise to take evasive action, driving or walking in opposite directions, making Uturns and making abrupt changes in direction and movements to see if you are being followed.

2. When carrying merchandise, jewelers need to be skeptical of all strangers who talk to them which could be a distraction attempt. 3. Jewelers should not leave jewelry merchandise in an unattended vehicle. Insurance ordinarily does not cover such losses. 4. Jewelers do not have flat tires or overheated vehicles. If car problems occur, consider yourself a crime target and get you and your merchandise to a safe location as quickly as possible. 5. When leaving trade shows, it is best to ship your merchandise if it is feasible. Losses can occur outside the venue or even the next day after you are followed. For more information about the Jewelers’ Security Alliance, crime data, trends and prevention information or to receive their Email Crime Alert, call JSA at 800-537-0067, email jsa2@jewelerssecurity.org or visit jewelerssecurity.org.

JOeL

Continued from page 14

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TIME DELAY CORP 800.622.5203 l

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ily member). I’m sure it will be fine if I just (fill in the blank with variety of work requests).” Those occasions have rarely gone well for our business. Our normal procedures are put in place not only to ensure our customers receive a timely processing of their order and the quality we promote, but also to ensure our business functions smoothly and efficiently. It is with a great deal of painful experience that I have learned the lesson that the value of my work, my time, myself, and my business, should not change because it’s a friend or family member that is asking. Custom guru Joel McFadden is the owner of Joel McFadden Designs in Chapel Hill, NC. He developed pricing for custom jewelry and repairs for the IJO Prototype Store, opened a business which became a million-dollar store focusing on custom, was named MJSA’s first Mentor Jeweler, was the first director of the Council of Custom Jewelers, and is the creator of the Bench Jewelers Challenge. He is an industry writer and speaks at events. Available for CAD work, stone setting, and complete custom pieces for the trade. Contact Joel at MentorJeweler@gmail.com, 984-212-2217, JMDJewelry.com, Facebook and YouTube.


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-99.30 -99.35 -99.35 -99.25 -98.90 -98.50 -98.70 -99.15 -98.50 -99.05 -99.25 -99.40 -99.35 -99.25 -98.50 -99.00 -98.65 -99.05 -98.90 -98.70 -98.90 -98.50 -98.85 -99.15 -99.25 -99.35 -99.30 -99.00 -98.75 -99.05 -99.05 -99.05 -99.15 -98.60 -99.05 -99.05 -99.35 -99.20 -98.75 -98.25

61 58 57 56 43.5 57 69 69 64 61 63 62 58 66 59 67 61 62 58 61 69 63 63 64 62 62 58 58 57 64 58 61 66 66 69 58 55 63 60.6 59.5

$2723.38 $1917.37 $1626.69 $1196.02 $837.43 $648.45 $4389.84 $2579.92 $516.15 $3697.88 $2029.91 $1406.79 $1253.75 $827.06 $520.65 $702.00 $344.61 $2665.32 $747.45 $411.06 $726.00 $437.18 $3274.74 $2660.54 $2369.25 $2021.89 $1816.92 $1455.30 $1023.75 $3881.70 $3424.28 $3142.12 $1923.98 $572.88 $1703.11 $4413.04 $1465.42 $996.96 $778.50 $473.20

EX EX EX EX EX EX EX EX EX EX EX EX EX EX EX EX EX EX EX EX EX EX EX EX EX EX EX EX EX EX EX EX EX EX EX EX EX EX EX EX

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59.9 62.1 62.3 62.3 62 61.9 71.1 68.3 72.9 56.8 62.7 58.1 58.4 61.2 61.3 65.1 69.3 61.7 64.5 68.5 68.6 64.3 55.4 57.8 57.3 59.6 63.8 59.2 64.1 57.8 60 55.1 58.7 61.3 65.7 62.6 62.4 62.8 61 62.4


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ASHI announces 2024 Valentine Instagram Giveaway for Sales Associates In a vibrant celebration of love and gratitude, ASHI is excited to introduce its first-ever Valentine Social Media Giveaway, exclusively tailored for your dedicated Sales Associates. This initiative highlights ASHI’s appreciation for the crucial role Sales Associates play in their ongoing success. As a token of gratitude for their unwavering commitment and hard work, ASHI is offering a chance for one lucky Sales Associate to win a dazzling 1 CT Diamond Station Necklace - valued at retail $2,499. This exquisite piece of jewelry isn’t just a prize; it’s a symbol of ASHI’s sincere appreciation for the passion and commitment Sales Associates bring to the jewelry industry. ASHI invites all Sales Associates to partake in this exclusive giveaway, held on Instagram @ASHIDIAMONDS. This giveaway mirrors ASHI’s steadfast dedication to acknowledging and celebrating the hard work and achievements of Sales Associates. Participation Guidelines for Sales Associates Participating is as easy as spreading love! • Follow @ASHIDiamonds on Instagram/Facebook • Like the Post on Instagram • Tag 3 friends & retail store in the Giveaway Post Comment Section To participate visit instagram.com/p/C2H6F5FOjKQ/ Giveaway Dates Giveaway ends - February 14, 2024 Winner Announcement Date - February 16, 2024 ASHI wishes you a season filled with love, joy, and successful Valentine’s Day sales!

Gem Legacy expands advisory council (FERNDALE, Mich.) - Gem Legacy, a 501c3 nonprofit organization launched in 2018 and dedicated to artisanal gem mining communities, has expanded its advisory council, with the addition of: Michelle Graff of National Jeweler, Meghan Margewicz of JCK Luxury, Lika Behar of Lika Behar Collection, Kate Donovan of AGA, Jennifer Maxwell of Leigh Maxwell Jewelry, Elle Hill of Hill & Co., and Debra Navarro of Debra Navarro Jewelry. Existing members of the advisory council are Niveet Nagpal of Omi Gems and Omi Privé, Jonathan and Brecken Farnsworth of Parlé Jewelry Designs, Katherine Bodoh of American Gem Society, Stuart Robertson of Gemworld International, and Sumit Dangi of Jewelers Mutual. Council members are dedicated to sharing Gem Legacy’s mission and inspiring the industry to give back at the source. They serve as ambassadors for Gem Legacy and advocates for Gem Legacy’s initiatives. The expanded council will endeavor to enroll new partners and collaborate with industry organizations and businesses to form alliances with Gem Legacy. “The expansion of the Gem Legacy advisory council is an exciting step forward for our industry, for Gem Legacy, and for the communities and businesses the organization supports,” says Ben Smithee, who serves on Gem Legacy’s board of directors, responsible for day-to-day decision making at the nonprofit. “Our new advocates will lead the charge for a unified movement to support the communities that serve as the foundation of our industry.” For more information about Gem Legacy visit their website at gemlegacy.org.

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Quality Gold, Inc. announces acquisition of SWISS CROWN™ USA (FAIRFIELD, Ohio) - Quality Gold, Inc., a leading vertically integrated specialty logistics and jewelry company, announced it has signed an agreement to acquire SWISS CROWN™ USA (“SWISS CROWN”), a leading wholesale watch company specializing in Pre-owned Rolex - Independently Certified watches. At press time, the acquisition was expected to be completed by the end of January 2024. Established in 2013 by Daniel Marks and Scott Freberg, two individuals with extensive experience in the fine jewelry industry, SWISS CROWN™ USA was founded on partnering with select high-quality retailers to provide a turnkey solution to sell pre-owned luxury watches. SWISS CROWN™ USA has successfully distributed pre-owned Rolex watches for over ten years. “We’re thrilled to welcome SWISS CROWN into the Quality Gold family,” said Quality Gold’s CEO, Michael Langhammer. “Quality Gold and SWISS CROWN have both demonstrated a track record of success spanning several decades, and we believe SWISS

CROWN represents an ideal acquisition given its strong relationships and reputation for expertise in the Preowned Rolex - Independently Certified watch market. The SWISS CROWN team created a loyal retailer base, and we look forward to having the opportunity to leverage their industry expertise, product portfolio, and customer network as we continue to deliver value to our retail partners.” “This acquisition accelerates our growth, particularly within the Pre-owned Rolex watch segment,” said Jason Langhammer, COO of Quality Gold. “It is a smart and strong addition for us. We expect that because of this transaction, there is the potential for significant synergies to make the SWISS CROWN™ USA brand, and by extension, Quality Gold, stronger. We look forward to building upon their success and continuing to offer the SWISS CROWN™ USA brand to retailers.” “As we consider what our team has built and the reputation of the SWISS CROWN™ USA name in the industry, we knew we wanted a buyer that would continue where we left off and maintain the level of service and quality we strive to maintain,” said Scott Freberg, co-founder and Managing Director. “As we entertained options and got to know Michael and Jason Langhammer, we became more impressed with QualPEPETOOLS RING BENDING TOOL ity Gold’s operations, ethics, and This strong,versatile tool outperforms all other ring bending tools. The base and handle performs at a high level of torque while allowing the user to exert less persistence to improve. We have resistance in bending metals. Matching outer dies included. complete confidence that our 480.317 $309.00 company’s reputation is in good 480.318 Set of 5 Non-Marring Nylon Dies $62.95 hands. Three top employees are joining Quality Gold to ensure PEPETOOLS RING BENDER the brand runs smoothly. We’re This rugged tool makes easy work of all your ring bending tasks.  Bends flat, oval and half-round blanks. incredibly grateful to the entire  Includes two precision-machined and hardened forming dies, ellipse shape and jewelry community that we’ve half cylinder. had the pleasure to work within.  Mandrel is stepped to accommodate a wide variety of ring sizes and blanks. Over the years, we’ve developed 480.050 $199.95 relationships worldwide and learned so much from others with a passion for luxury watches and pre-owned Rolex timepieces.” Quality Gold will release CONNOISSEURS ULTRA-SOFT POLISHING CLOTH A rougeless, dual-cloth buffing system. Ultra-soft for Jewelry - cleans and buffs gold and a 44-page catalog featuring the silver jewelry. Ultra-soft for Silver lifts tarnish from sterling silver, silver plate, flatware SWISS CROWN USA™ Brand and hollowware, while leaving a protective, anti-tarnish coating. Measures 11” x 14”. Pre-owned Rolex - Indepen171.0270 Cloth for Jewelry $12.10 dently Certified watches in early 171.0271 Cloth for Silver $12.10 February. It will showcase over 180 different Pre-Owned Rolex Watches. CONNOISSEURS® PRECIOUS CLEANER FOR PLATINUM, GOLD, The acquisition of SWISS DIAMONDS AND PRECIOUS STONES CROWN™ USA expands on Polymers in its formula help reduce the appearance of tiny scratches built up in Quality Gold’s successful M&A settings over time. Precious Jewelry Cleaner is a good way to clean most metals used activity over recent years as it in making jewelry today. 8 oz. with dip tray and brush. continues to acquire top-quality 230.003 $8.40 ea 12 @ $7.74 ea businesses in the fragmented CONNOISSEURS® SILVER BATH FOR STERLING SILVER JEWELRY jewelry watch industry and adds Sterling silver dip offers a fast, easy way to remove tarnish and add shine and brilliance additional assets in the higherback to sterling silver jewelry. Use only on sterling silver. 8 oz. with dip tray and brush. end jewelry market to its portfo230.004 $8.40 ea 12 @ $7.74 ea lio. Terms of the transaction have not been disclosed. For more information about Quality Gold, Inc. visit qgold. CLASSIC DAZOR DESK LAMP Provides abundant light over a large work com. LED GEMSTONE LAMP 530 LUMENS area. The 33” adjustable “floating-arm” is easily For more information about 27 Bulb LED Gemstone Lamp, 530 lumens. Color positioned with a touch of the finger. Rugged about SWISS CROWN™ USA construction has no exposed wires or springs. Render 2500K - 7000K. AC adaptor. visit swisscrownusa.com. 130.118 $429.00 131.107 $105.45

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Hometown Jewelers and the Force Majeure Clause at the Repair Desk! When the unknown can cost you more than you realized.

By Robert James FGA, GG It is the moment that you, your store, your reputation, and your money are at their most vulnerable. With one stroke of the pen, you put everything on the line. Nope, it is not your store lease. Not your bank loan. Not even your marriage license (although that comes in a close second). It is the jewelry repair takein desk of your hometown retail jewelry store. That stroke of the pen when your usually least-trained staff member puts your entire enterprise on the line. It happens in the very finest of jewelry stores. Here is how it recently happened to one hometown jeweler: A customer brings in a ring to be repaired. The take in person checks the center stone with an electronic tester: Diamond! The diamond is pink. So, the take-in ticket/customer receipt is filled out as “One pink diamond”. The repair work is completed, ring cleaned in the ultrasonic, no problem. But somehow as the ring is being specially cleaned for new rhodium plating, a pink diamond goes in, a colorless diamond comes out. Yep, the

diamond was coated. Customer comes in to pick up her ring and finds a colorless diamond where her pink diamond once sat. Unfortunately, the diamond was sold to the customer without disclosure of the treatment, which made the situation even more dire. The customer immediately accuses the jeweler of switching her pink diamond out with a colorless diamond, threatens legal action, and to call the District Attorney to file criminal charges. The case would have been a slam dunk for the District Attorney and the customer’s lawyer. Fortunately, the store had a long and solid reputation in the town. Chaos was averted not only by their reputation but also by their actions to resolve the situation, which included replacing the diamond. This situation was created by one major problem: Failure to accommodate for the unforeseen risks of taking in unknown gemstone jewelry for repair. What in legal terms is called: “Force Majeure”. “Force Majeure” is known as: “an event or effect that can be neither anticipated nor controlled.”

Black’s Law Dictionary. “Force Majeure” and Jewelry Store Repairs The take-in ticket at a jewelry store is a contract. A contract between the jeweler and the customer where the jeweler agrees to perform a specific service in return for a specific payment from the customer. The problem is, rarely do these take-in receipts cover Force Majeure. Here is how the Legal Information Institute of Cornell Law School defines a Force Majeure clause in a contract: “A provision commonly found in contracts that frees both parties from obligation if an extraordinary event prevents one or both parties from performing” In our case above, the take-in receipt could have protected the jewelry store from liability of the unseen coating on the diamond if the take-in ticket had a Force Majeure provision written into the disclosure information. Assigning Liability for Force Majeure When it comes to undisclosed treatments that can affect a repair contract, someone must accept liability for unforeseen events such as outlined above. It

is common for consumers not to be informed of treatments such as glass filled rubies and diamond coatings that can adversely impact a repair contract. However, it is still the consumer who must accept the risks of undisclosed treatments and the potential impact of normal repair procedures on those treatments. It is not reasonable that a jewelry store accept liability for Force Majeure with a $25,000 diamond ring for a $100 repair job. This, of course, deals with undisclosed treatments and not defective jeweler workmanship. The key is to put a Force Majeure clause in every repair take-in receipt and make the customer aware of this fact. Here is an example of a Force Majeure clause to consider for your take-in receipt. You should check with your local attorney to adjust this to your specific needs: “It is the customer’s responsibility to inform us of any treatments to their gemstones at the time the item is left for repair. “Your Name” Jewelers does not accept liability for any undisclosed gemstone treatments that may be discovered during repairs, and the potential impact those treatments may experience interacting with our repair procedures.” While this will not solve the problem of undisclosed treatments and their impact on a retail jeweler’s repair work, it will place the risk and liability for damages

on the consumer to know what they are bringing in. Again, consumers may not be aware of treatments to their gemstone set jewelry. But hometown, independent retail jewelers performing repairs on that jewelry should not be the ones to take responsibility for a problem another dealer created. Force Majeure is a condition built into every contract in other businesses. I urge you to consider adding it to your repair take-in receipt. Note: While I have earned the Business Law Certification from Cornell Law School, I am not a lawyer. You should consult with your local attorney for any and all legal advice. Robert James FGA, GG, is President of the International School of Gemology. He can be contacted through the ISG website gemology.pro. Robert James, FGA, GG is President of the International School of Gemology (gemologypro.com), a gemological education organization that offers world class gemology training and boasts the world’s lowest tuition rate. They are innovators in affordable, quality distance education in gemology and jewelry appraisal, based on their certified insurance industry education delivery system. ISG’s online gemology courses are considered tops for quality, affordability and ease of learning.

Email: contact@pickensinc.com 480 E. Paces Ferry Rd. Atlanta, GA. 30305


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Sissy’s Log Cabin celebrates Grand Opening of new Memphis store (MEMPHIS, Tenn.) - Sissy’s Log Cabin celebrated the grand opening of its new standalone store at 4542 Poplar Avenue in January, continuing the well-known “Sissy’s Experience” in the heart of Memphis at Laurelwood Shopping Center. “Memphis has been a cherished home to Sissy’s since 2014, and we decided it was time to redefine our presence and elevate the overall experience for our customers,” Bill Jones, CEO of Sissy’s Log Cabin, said of the project that began in April of last year. He emphasized the strategic direction behind the new store opening saying, “By offering luxurious boutique-style shopping and incorporating subtle nods to our log cabin roots, this state-ofthe-art store sets the standard for jewelry shopping in Memphis and all our future locations.” Designed by architect Jesse Balaity, the new 9,000 square foot store is the newest addition to the Laurelwood Shopping Center. The building is surrounded by green space and ample parking, with dedicated security and modern structural elements and designated space for Sissy’s expanded lines that include Rolex and Cartier, diamonds, estate jewelry, and more. The ribbon-cutting ceremony symbolized a decade of Sissy’s Log Cabin’s dedication to the Memphis community and officially welcomed shoppers into the new store. Sissy’s customers and staff were in attendance, as well as representatives from the Memphis Chamber of Commerce and Laurelwood Shopping Center. “We view this grand opening not just as the introduction of a new store, but as the continuation of a long-term, meaningful relationship with this city,” said Lamar McCubbin, president of Sissy’s Log Cabin. “Our promise to Memphis is simple, but forever: Every time you walk into our store, you’ll find exceptional service, an expansive selection, an extraordinary experience, and quality pieces.” Sissy’s is the official jeweler of the Memphis Grizzlies and the Memphis Tigers. For more information visit sissyslogcabin.com.

SJN MAJN Southern Jewelry News

Romantique Jewelers wins William (Wag) Wagner Award The Edge Retail Academy (ERA), a full-service jewelry business consulting firm, announced that Dominick and Kim Rodriguez of Romantique Jewelers, have been awarded the prestigious annual William (Wag) Wagner Business Excellence Award for 2023. Romantique Jewelers has been providing quality workmanship and a great personal service experience for 43 years in the St. Louis area. David Brown, ERA President, commented, “Dominick and Kim increased sales by an Please see Award page 29

Dominick and Kim Rodriguez of Romantique Jewelers, winners of the Edge Retail Academy’s William (Wag) Wagner Business Excellence Award.

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Future Queen Catherine, Princess of Wales. All the latest! By Mia Katrin When the Princess of Wales appeared at the state banquet in Buckingham Palace honoring the President of South Korea on November 21, 2023 wearing the Strathmore Rose tiara, everyone gasped. It was a wedding gift to the late Queen Mother from her parents in 1923, a century

ago, and had skipped a generation (actually two), never having been worn publicly by her daughter, the late Queen Elizabeth II. Rarely having been seen in close to a century, it was “in the vault” along with numerous other price-

Catherine, Princess of Wales at King Charles III 2023 coronation with the late Queen Elizabeth II’s diamond Festoon Necklace and a silver leaf headdress. Queen Camilla with Ruby and Diamond tiara of the late Queen Elizabeth II and coordinating necklace commissioned by Prince Albert for Queen Victoria.

less legendary treasures, presumably too delicate for wear because of its intricate floral style. The late Queen Mother had worn it as a bandeau headband, across the forehead, a style popu-

Catherine with one of the late Queen’s favorite triple strand pearl necklaces. lar in the 1920s. Catherine chose to wear the tiara as an upright headpiece. It is only the fourth royal tiara she has worn publicly. She is the only person other than

the late Queen Mother to have worn this precious jewel. Catherine, now the Princess of Wales, is in line to become Queen, a position now held by Camilla, the wife of King Charles III. “Estate jewelry” has a special meaning when applied to the British royal family. Members of the family have access to crown jewels from the royal vault to wear on state occasions, as well as a wealth of private jewels belonging to individual family members, passed down through generations. Many of the jewels are of exquisite quality and workmanship, along with legendary provenance documented over centuries, making them virtually priceless. Catherine and Camilla especially, as senior royals, have priority access to this treasure trove. Royals often choose pieces to wear to honor late family members or reflect the particular significance of the occasion. Queen Camilla at a state reception for

Mia Katrin South Korea in 2023 chose a rare opulent diamond and ruby tiara commissioned by the late Queen Elizabeth II along with a coordinating ruby and diamond necklace commissioned by Prince Albert for his wife Queen Victoria. Red is one of the national colors of South Korea. At the May 6, 2023 coronation of King Charles III, Catherine chose the Festoon Necklace of the late Queen Elizabeth II, commissioned by her father, King George VI, consisting of 105 collet diamonds, designated by Queen Mary as “heirlooms of Please see Mia page 28

IGI uncovers fraudulent 6.01ct lab grown diamond with natural inscription The International Gemological Institute (IGI), the world’s largest independent gemological laboratory, recently analyzed a 6.01 carat pear-cut gemstone with a laser inscription corresponding to a natural diamond, but concluded it was laboratory grown. Submitted to IGI’s Tel Aviv location for verification, the lab grown stone’s carat weight, physical spread, and primary qualities were a close match with the natural diamond’s online data. “Everyone in our industry must be vigilant,” stated CEO Tehmasp Printer. “IGI pioneered the grading of lab grown diamonds nearly two decades ago for the purpose of clear separation from natural stones. As attempted fraud increases, the need for ongoing verification is a necessary step to protect consumers from purchasing misrepresented gems and jewelry.” While the main qualities of the stone paralleled the GIA report data, IGI’s gemologists soon deduced that it was not a natural diamond. Photoluminescence spectroscopy revealed a doublet at 737 nm due to SiV defects, indicating laboratory growth using the Carbon Vapor Deposition (CVD) process. This was further supported by microscopy, which showed a carbon inclusion in place of the feather indicated by GIA, and a cloud, resulting in a lower clarity grade from IGI. A

slight depth mismatch was also revealed. Such discrepancies could go unnoticed outside of a laboratory, particularly once the stone is set into a piece of jewelry.

from fraud with thorough screening and grading of gemstones and finished jewelry at all 29 of our worldwide locations,” Mr. Printer added. “A current grading report

IGI’s discovery comes on the heels of other industry alerts stating that lab grown diamonds are being sold as natural. “IGI protects jewelry buyers and sellers

ensures accuracy, confidence, and peace of mind for professionals and consumers alike.” To learn more visit www.igi. org.


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back on the fast track! You spoke and we listened. We’ve been working hard to improve our delivery. We are focused on the items you need the most so we don’t have to compromise our industry leading quality and customer service. We identified our core jewelry products and built stock of our most popular sizes and metals. We also prioritized our standard mill alloys to ensure they remain on the fast track.

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Variety

Continued from page 1 catering to individual client needs, designing with CAD, and creating a customer’s desired finished piece. We work with natural earth-mined stones, but are flexible and will use lab-grown upon request.” EverLove Bridal is among

the manufacturer’s most popular collections, offering consumers quality and diverse styling at competitive prices. The program has 15 engagement ring designs, from classic settings to intricate halos, in .50 to 1 carat total weights, with matching wedding bands. Other bestsellers include flexible jewelry - bangles, rings

and hoops in gold and diamonds; and colorful birthstone designs in earrings, rings and pendants. The New Year will also see Variety Gem debuting a new mother of pearl, diamond and gold collec-

Variety Gem offers more than 2,000 styles. Variety’s popularly priced EverLove Bridal is among their most popular collections.

Flexible gold and diamond bangle bracelet, part of Variety Gem’s Flexible jewelry collection.

tion of 24 bracelet, ring, and earring designs. Moshe, vice president of sales notes that programs like EverLove, Flexible, Birthstones, and Mother of Pearl come with premium marketing tools to help jewelers at point of sale, including special display units, professional photography, advertising, and consumer videos. Looking ahead, Variety Gem expects to introduce new collections, programs, and extensions to existing lines throughout the year. The brothers are excited about the industry’s prospects, especially in light of projections for a surge in wedding proposals. They encourage fellow jewelers to consider the evolving landscape and position themselves for success by partnering with a vendor like Variety Gem that can meet their needs for well-made, affordable fine diamond and gemstone jewelry. As active members of IJO (Independent Jewelers Organization), RJO (Retail Jewelers Organization), LJG (Leading Jewelers Guild), and DDC (Diamond Dealers Club), Variety Gem values the

Mia

Continued from page 24 the throne”. Queen Mary, the late Queen Elizabeth II’s grandmother, was a jewelry aficionado, with a powerful influence on elevating the British crown jewel collection to its current unmatched splendor. At the coronation ceremony Catherine and her daughter Charlotte both wore headpieces of intricate silver leaves. None of the royals other than the King and Queen being crowned wore tiaras at the event. Catherine often wears jewels of the late Queen to honor her. The late Queen Elizabeth particularly loved her long triple strand pearl necklaces - she had at least three sets. At the November 2023 Festival of Remembrance, the Princess of Wales chose one of these, along with

Always a perfect fit for any engagement ring with more than 180 styles in Variety Gem’s Contour Collection. The bands fit the contours of 95% of all engagement rings on the market. community and benefits it brings. Variety Gem invites retail jewelers to visit its booth at upcoming trade shows, sharing insights and experiences within the IJO, RJO and LJG networks.

The company also plans to present new offerings at the Las Vegas show. For more information about Variety Gem, please visit varietygem.com or call 800-735-4367.

a red poppy in remembrance of those fallen in combat. Catherine also wore the late Queen’s Greville diamond chandelier earrings along with one of her favorite tiaras - the pearl Lover’s Knot - at a 2023 Buckingham Palace reception for members of the Diplomatic Corps, honoring both the late Queen and Catherine’s late mother-in-law, Princess Diana (the tiara was also one of Diana’s favorites). But the Queen in waiting also has a sense of fun! Catherine chose Barbiecore pink outfits last spring around the release of the Barbie movie, and frequently wears causal skinny jeans for informal wear. At Royal Ascot 2023, she wore a bright red outfit along with matching oversized saucer hat, accessorized with gold and black bead statement chande-

lier earrings. The future King and Queen William and Catherine are set to focus on expanded international engagements in 2024. We can’t wait to see the hidden royal treasures that will be revealed by this world-class style icon as she continues to elevate into her legendary status! Mia Katrin is an award-winning jewelry designer featured in over 100 stores nationally. To become a Jewel Couture LLC retailer, contact www.jeweljewel. com, 828-406-1105 or mia@jeweljewel.com. A recognized industry spokesperson, Mia also writes for several jewelry magazines and often is invited to speak at major national trade events. She recently launched a new marketing agency to help you sell online, TheJewelersMarketer.com.


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A quick note about technology The good and the bad

By Brad Huisken Technology is great, we all use it in one form or another to make our lives easier. We pay bills online, we text everyone, we do most of our shopping online and so many other things. No one is going to argue that technology, overall, is a bad thing. However, the advent of technology has also decayed other aspects of our society. Some would argue that we don’t talk to each other as much and the human connection is suffering. As someone who has been in sales his whole life, I would argue that technology has been good and bad. The good is obvious. Invoices are easier to fill out, delivery times are quicker, inventories are able to be seen online and hundreds of other benefits. Customer service, though, has taken a huge hit and a lot of it has to do with

aWard

Continued from page 25 impressive 16% and raised their gross profit by 20%, all while increasing their gross margin by over 3%!” Dominick Rodriguez added, “With the help of Robyn Holzrichter, our Edge Retail Academy Business Advisor, we implemented strategies to get our inventory healthier. We decreased our overall inventory by over $100K and reduced our aged inventory by over $200K!” William (Wag) Wagner Business Excellence Award The Business Excellence Award is given annually to 1 retail jeweler that has achieved the most exceptional business growth in the past 12 months. This is the sixth year that Edge Retail Academy has presented the William (Wag) Wagner Business Excellence Award. “The Award has two goals: (1) to acknowledge business excellence from independent retailers and (2) to honor the memory of long-serving ERA Business Advisor William (Wag) Wagner, whose service, loyalty and advice went well beyond the expectations of our clients, his work colleagues and our company,” said Mr. Brown. Wag passed away in September 2018. Edge Retail Academy presented the Rodriguez’s with the award and a check for $1000. Learn more about Edge Retail Academy at www.EdgeRetailAcademy.com.

the technology era that we live in today. Let’s start with a simple example. A lot of fast-food restaurants are starting to go to computers for customers to order from. Basically it’s a touch screen that you place your order on, scan your card and pick up your food at the end of a counter. I’m not going to lie, in that case I probably prefer that - but it’s a slippery slope. Successful salespeople are built on two things, referrals and repeat customers. If a customer is buying an engagement ring on a computer, why would they come

back? There’s no reason for them to be loyal to a computer. Let’s take the engagement ring example further. The computer is just going to show you rings based on what you input. A salesperson is going to have a conversation with you, they are going to get to know you and your perspective fiancé. They are going to want to hear the story of how you met, and based on all of that information, that salesperson is going to do everything they can to help you find the perfect ring. The thing that brings people back is the personal touch,

the relationships that customers build with salespeople. There’s no doubt that technology can be used as an asset for salespeople, but there’s no program that can do that. No one is ever going to argue that technology is a bad thing because it’s not, but it can never replace quality customer service. Author, trainer, consultant, and speaker Brad Huisken is President of IAS Training. Huisken has authored several books and training manuals on sales and produces a Weekly Sales Training Meeting video series along with Aptitude Tests and

Brad Huisken Proficiency Exams for new hires, current sales staff and sales managers. In addition, he publishes a free weekly newsletter called “Sales Insight” For more information contact IAS Training at 800-248-7703 or info@iastraining.com. Visit his website at www. iastraining.com.


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Jewelry News • February 2024

ASHI introduces Personalized Jewelry Microsite

In the dynamic landscape of the jewelry industry, establishing connections with the Next Gen is increasingly vital for the continuous success of jewelry stores. Personalized Jewelry serves as a bridge to the younger generation, expressing individuality and creating lasting connections. By catering to what they are looking for through personalized offerings, jewelry stores tap into a lucrative market and establish themselves as innovative and adaptable. Personalized jewelry stands as a testament to ASHI’s commitment to innovation and its ability to create meaningful connections with the next generation of jewelry enthusiasts. ASHI has crafted several designs in their Fine Jewelry line to attract the Next Gen - Diamond Essentials, Petite Jewelry, Personalized Styles, and more. ASHI’s Personalized Jewelry collection has garnered popularity with numerous retailers already featuring the Personalized Jewelry POS Display at their stores. This allows consumers to explore and try on 14 alloy styles before making a purchase, leading to a surge in orders as soon as the collection hits the display cases. To assist ASHI’s retailers in driving sales to their stores and website, ASHI is introducing its state-of-the-art Personalized Jewelry Microsite - an innovation that brings numerous advantages to their retail partners. This microsite is free of charge for ASHI retail partners and is designed to transform jewelry retail by providing an unparalleled platform for personalized shopping experiences. Retailers can effortlessly integrate ASHI’s Personalized

Jewelry Collection onto their websites through a tailored, brand-centric JavaScript Embed Widget. This dynamic widget not only showcases the latest designs but also empowers customers to personalize jewelry to their liking, enhancing the overall online shopping experience The widget is customizable with the retailer’s company branding - company name, logo, jeweler information, images and can seamlessly integrate onto their existing websites. It’s key features are an integrated email system, 2.5x retail markup, and a flexible shopping cart complete with PayPal functionality, complemented by Order by Phone/ Email options. This development represents a substantial leap forward in personalizing and enriching the landscape of online retail experiences. For a seamless integration, retailers can share the

code provided by ASHI to their web hosting provider or webmaster. The platform offers an immersive experience, enabling customers to discover, create, and value unique jewelry pieces that tell their own stories. This microsite is not just a shopping destination, but a journey into personalization and creativity, where each piece holds a special meaning and narrative. Here is what you can expect with ASHI’s Personalized Microsite: • FREE for ASHI Retail Partners • Collection of stunning custom-made personalized jewelry for all occasions • Allow your customers to design their own pieces with an intuitive online tool • Zero web maintenance, hosting, or design fees

• Shopping cart-enabled custom microsite • And much more ASHI invites retailers to enhance their online presence by integrating the ASHI Personalized Jewelry Microsite onto their websites. This addition promises to offer customers a unique and customizable jewelry shopping experience, setting a new standard in online retail. Here is why you should consider embedding ASHI’s Personalized Microsite: Expanded Product Range - Features an extensive collection of personalized jewelry, offering customers a broad selection of unique and customizable options. User-Friendly Customization - An intuitive tool enables customers to easily customize jewelry with names, initials, and dates, directly from the retailers’ websites. This feature enhances

the online shopping experience by adding a personal touch. Enhanced Engagement Keeps customers engaged with interactive previews and dynamic content directly on the retailers’ websites, enhancing the user experience and increasing engagement. Seamless Integration ASHI simplifies the integration of its Personalized Jewelry Microsite with an easy-to-use code snippet. Increased Revenue - Offer a broader range of personalized jewelry without the need for extensive inventory, potentially boosting your revenue. Retailer feedback on the Personalized Jewelry collection has been extrmely positive. “The Personalized Collection has truly exceeded our expectations. Its appeal across all demographics, attracting a dynamic mix of young trendsetters and customers seeking unique, heartfelt gifts,” said Megan Davis, Store Manager, Siebke And Hoyt, Inc., Cedar Rapids, IA. “The POS display and B2B website have streamlined the customization process, making personalized jewelry a standout success.” Stay connected with ASHI by visiting www.ashidiamonds.com. For any inquiries about the ASHI Personalized Jewelry Microsite, please reach out to digitalmarketing@ashidiamonds.com. Contact ASHI by phone at 800-622-ASHI or connect with your regional sales representative. Additionally, you can contact ASHI’s Digital Marketing Specialists, Jessica Silbert at 612-718-7609 or Amy Bremser at 979-533-2373.

INOX Men’s Jewelry announces Premium Titanium Bands collection (NORWALK, Conn.) INOX Jewelry, a distinguished sub-brand of Salesone LLC, is excited to unveil its Premium Titanium Bands collection, a groundbreaking addition to its men’s jewelry line. This new collection significantly enhances the INOX range of rings, providing fine jewelers with a unique array of options in men’s bands at midlevel price points. The Premium Titanium Bands collection showcases an innovative blend of materials, designs, and finishes, catering to a diverse clientele. One of the highlights of this collection is the introduction of half sizes in some of

the Titanium (Ti) Rings, ensuring maximum comfort for the wearer. The new collection features an assortment of unique designs, including: • Tire Tread Pattern: For the adventurous spirit, embodying a love for the open road. • Hammered Finish: A testament to refined ruggedness, perfect for a bold statement. • Chevron Design: A modern twist on a classic, offering sleek sophistication. These designs and more reflect INOX’s commitment to providing jewelers with extraordinary and distinctive options for their discerning customers.

Jewelry stores interested in expanding their offerings with the Premium Titanium Bands collection are invited to view the line at various industry shows, including RJO, IJO, JCK, JIS, and Instore. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 203-803-1481 or visit inox-us. com. INOX Jewelry is proud to lead the way in men’s jewelry, continuously innovating to meet and exceed the expectations of both retailers and their customers. The Premium Titanium Bands collection is not just jewelry; it’s a statement of style, quality, and comfort.


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Charting a Successful Course: 2024 Marketing Strategies for Jewelry Store Owners By Guy Pineda As we welcome 2024, it’s time for jewelry store owners to reflect and strategize. The postholiday period is perfect for taking stock and planning ahead. This guide offers practical marketing advice, focusing on engagement rings and bridal jewelry, tailored for stores with modest budgets and big ambitions. Understanding Your Audience First off, who are we trying to charm this year? Those lovely 25 to 35-year-old couples planning their big day. Now, imagine you’re helping them find the perfect ring for their perfect moment. This means your marketing should feel personal like you’re part of their love story. Social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest are your best friends here, showcasing your collection with stories that tug at the heartstrings. The Art of Measuring Marketing Now, onto a bit trickier part - figuring out what’s working and what’s not. You’ve probably tried a bit of everything from flyers to Facebook ads. But which of these are really bringing those couples through your door? It’s time to play detective with your marketing efforts. Track your website visits, keep an eye on how your social media posts are doing, and hey, why not have a chat with your customers to see what drew them in? Budgeting Without Breaking the Bank Let’s talk money, but don’t worry, I’m not about to tell you to spend a fortune. With a typical budget of about $2,000 to $3,000 a month, you’ve got to be a bit of a magician. Email marketing can be a surprisingly powerful and cost-effective spell to cast. Also, think about local events - they’re like throwing a party where everyone’s invited to see your sparkly guests of honor. It gives you, your staff, and customers something to look forward to and get excited about. Staffing: The Multi-Talented Gem Hiring a full-time marketing guru can be out of the question in some cases, but that’s okay. Many of you have these amazing hybrid employees who can juggle store duties and dabble in marketing. Let’s give them a round of applause and maybe some extra tools or training to help them shine even brighter but make sure

to give them enough space and freedom to make you shine out to the world. Success Stories: Real Inspiration Learn from the successes of others! Listen to others in the industry and find out what worked for them. You can easily find great stories right here in this publication, the Pearls of Wisdom podcast, or directly from others when you visit the next jewelry trade shows. Take the best ideas and figure out how to implement them for your business. Sometimes it’s that little tip that can

help you progress just a little bit further. The worst thing you can do with great advice is not figure out how you can use the idea to benefit your store. Setting Goals That Sparkle Instead of just saying, “Let’s sell more,” how about we get specific? Maybe you want to increase engagement ring sales by 20% or get 500 new followers on Instagram. These aren’t just numbers, they’re signposts on your road to success. Make sure to set a goal on a metric that you can measure. Some examples are the number of appointments per month, the

number of reviews for each associate, number of rings sold. Whatever the goal is, make it easy to measure. If you can, start with a benchmark so you can track increases (or decreases) and create a plan to get there. The Importance of a Semi-Annual Check-Up Just like you’d give those beautiful diamonds a regular polish, your marketing plan needs a check-up too. Every six months sit down with a cup of coffee and review what’s working. Are you hitting your targets? Is there a new trend you can jump on?

Guy Pineda Keep your strategies as fresh as your designs. Combining the Old and the New In this digital age, we can’t forget the charm of traditional marketing. A lovely balance of online ads and in-store experiPlease see Pineda page 33


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Jewelry News • February 2024

Box Brokers unveils new GN Diamond introduces new and improved display platforms with integrated sales tool featuring light brilliancy “2024 is here! Happy New Year to all!” says Asaf Herskovitz, CEO GN Diamond. Retailers, wholesalers, store owners, and salespeople take the time to evaluate everything that went right and all that may need improvement. GN Diamond has an easy-to-use sales tool when presenting diamonds. GN realizes that competition is tough, end consumers may have limited time in your store, and they want to understand why your store is different from the store down the street and more importantly why the diamonds you are presenting stand out.

“GN’s free, 3rd party light performance score on all loose diamonds helps reduce the sales presentation by ½,” said Herskovitz. “It simplifies the sale! There is an abundance of time saved when you can easily show consumers why 1 diamond is better than another diamond. The diamond is better with gentle inclusions.” GN understands the challenges retailers face on a day-today basis and try to help jewelers sell more diamonds. By investing in tools that can provide jewelers with a point of distinction quickly

and easily, closing percentages should rise. “In 2024, GN looks forward to continuing to support retailers with the right inventory at the right prices,” stated Herskovitz. Easy to use links on all loose diamonds reveal all the necessary information on the diamond - a 360-degree view, GIA certification and the light performance. Call GN Diamond to gain more information on this easy to use tool at 800-724-8810, email sales@gndiamond.com or visit gndiamond.com.

Stuller now supplying Mined Platinum Grain made with Responsibly Mined Platinum from Anglo American (LAFAYETTE, La.) Stuller is pleased to announce a new collaboration with Anglo American, one of the world’s leading primary producers of Platinum Group Metals (PGMs). The agreement will supply Stuller with responsibly mined platinum grain from Anglo American. Belit Myers, Chief Operating Officer at Stuller, said: “We are committed to providing the U.S. jewelry industry with unparalleled access to platinum, as well as focusing on supporting a more socially and environmentally conscious future.” Benny Oeyen, Executive Head of Market Development PGMs at Anglo American, said: “As a leading producer of platinum, we are dedicated to supporting the accessibility of our metal in the U.S. jewelry market. Our ambition is to be a sustainability leader in the mining industry and a pioneer in the provision of responsibly mined platinum to the U.S. jewelry industry.” Platinum supplied by Anglo American to Stuller will be

customizable signage

The Box Brokers Group continued their introduction of innovative ideas in 2024 with the introduction of a new “Branded” platform top that allows the jeweler to add a message adjacent to the presented merchandise. The magnetic tops fit directly on the patented SmartPro platform bases the firm introduced last year. “We heard from stores that adding a message such as displayed product type, merchandise history or specifications, financing options or just store name, adjacent to the merchandise increased their sales, so we simply integrated the sign into the display,” says Daniel Koffman, recently appointed National Sales Manager for the firm. The platform tops are available from stock in 5 popular colors of leatherette material. A template that makes creating the customized sign in the store very easy is available on the company’s website: BoxBrokersgroup.com. The Box Brokers University section of the website also includes artwork for signs that can be easily downloaded for specific purposes such as holidays, diamond specifications, colored stone types and general merchandise types. These templates are provided free of charge to BBG clients. Box Brokers is widely recognized for their innovative ideas in jewelry display and packaging. Visit BoxBrokersgroup.com or contact them at 800-809-3868 for more information.

MJSA’s “Why I’m a Jeweler” videos encourage careers in jewelry sourced in compliance with the London Platinum and Palladium Market (LPPM) Responsible Platinum/Palladium Guidance. The company uses innovative practices and the latest technologies to discover new resources and mine, process, move and market their products - safely and sustainably. Huw Daniel, CEO of Platinum Guild International, said: “Bringing together one of the

world’s leading platinum producers with a storied corporation known for its superior customer service will help us create a new supply channel with the potential to significantly improve the purchasing experience of the jewelry industry at large.” Shop the new Stuller mined platinum grain made with responsibly mined platinum from Anglo American at Stuller.com/RMPlatinum.

MARCH 16-17, 2024 EXPANDED EDUCATION FRIDAY THROUGH MONDAY MARCH 15 - 18 atlantajewelryshow.com

MJSA, the trade alliance dedicated to professional excellence in jewelry making and design, has launched a new video series promoting the creative opportunities, community connections, and personal rewards found in a career making and designing jewelry. Titled “Why I’m a Jeweler,” the series presents jewelers of all types - from students to longtime designers and manufacturers - talking about why they love what they do and how aspiring jewelers can share in that joy. The first three videos focus on the personal connections made through jewelry (“An Intimate Experience”), how the craft offers many paths for a fulfilling career (“From an Ember to a Flame”), and how jewelry inspires creativity (“Telling a Story”). The videos can be found on the MJSA website at MJSA.info/apprentice as well as on MJSA’s social media channels. To ensure they reach as wide an audience as possible, MJSA will upgrade and relaunch its consumer-facing BEaJEWELER.com website and related social media channels. It will also make the videos available to schools with jewelry programs and to career counselors through the National Career Development Association. The “Why I’m a Jeweler” video series is part of the MJSA Education Foundation’s Mentor & Apprenticeship Program, which provides businesses with the tools to attract, train, and retain workers. The series was produced by Werx.Marketing (a brand of the Hill Management Group) and supported by a grant from the JCK Industry Fund, the mission of which is to support the jewelry industry’s long-term success and growth by providing grant funding to organizations with the vision and programming to drive sustainable improvements across the industry. To learn more, go to MJSA.org or contact Rich Youmans, executive director of the MJSA Education Foundation, at 800-444-MJSA.


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ASHI launches 2024 Bridal Marketing Program ASHI is thrilled to announce the launch its 2024 Bridal Marketing Program, designed to cater to modern trends while honoring classic elegance. This collection presents a harmonious mix of simple yet sophisticated designs, each crafted with meticulous attention by the skilled artisans at ASHI. Celebrate love’s timeless moments with an array of new and reimagined jewelry pieces, offering a variety of options for couples to find their “Perfect Ring”. The emphasis this year is on individual expression, with couples preferring engagement rings that incorporate personal touches. The 2024 Bridal Collection, showcased in the 28-page Bridal Book, features over 200 unique styles, including more than 100 refreshed designs. The collection spans contemporary, vintage, and classic designs, all demonstrating intricate craftsmanship. ASHI is introducing two new programs as part of the 2024 Bridal Program: The Eternal Bridal Program and the Akari Collection. Both are part of ASHI’s Custom Bridal Program - allowing a range of options from customizing center shapes and sizes to varying metal and diamond quality options that ship within 4 weeks. Mr. Pandya, partner at ASHI Diamonds, emphasizes the dedication to quality and innovation, stating: “Our collection not only showcases unique designs but also embodies our commitment to craftsmanship and detail. Our ex-

tensive marketing program allows our partners to reach new markets and engage effectively on social media platforms.” The 2024 Bridal Program offers a comprehensive approach for retailers, including customization options for the Bridal Book, an in-stock program for quick delivery, and a variety of marketing tools and strategies. Retailers can personalize the Bridal Book with their store branding, customer engagement images, and more, making it a unique offering for their clientele. Additionally, ASHI offers a range of marketing support, including advertising subsidies, digital assets, bridal sweepstakes, and free marketing visuals. These tools are designed to help retailers become the go-to bridal jewelry destination in their market. 2024 Bridal Collection Highlights • Simplicity Meets Elegance: The collection focuses on simple, yet elegant designs, enhanced by subtle, sophisticated details. • Expert Craftsmanship: Each piece is handcrafted by skilled artisans, combining classic techniques with modern aesthetics. • Wide Range of Choices: The collection includes unique new designs, revamped classics, and best-selling favorites to ensure every bride finds her “Perfect Ring”. • Personalization Trend: Recognizing the trend towards personalization in engagement rings, the collection features up-

dated takes on classic styles. • The 2024 Bridal Book: A comprehensive 28-page guide showcasing over 200 unique bridal styles, including over 100 reimagined designs. The book highlights contemporary, vintage, and classic bridal designs. Retailer Support and Marketing Program • Customizable Bridal Book: Personalize the Bridal Book with store logo, history, customer engagement images, and more. • In-Stock and 5-Day Preview Program: Features a no-obligation 5-day preview of styles, with most available for overnight delivery. • Extended Terms and Subsidies: Approved partners receive extended payment terms and a 4% advertising subsidy to offset marketing costs. • Digital Marketing Integration: Includes a state-of-the-art Digital Flipbook, which can be branded for retailers and allows consumers to easily view and or-

Pineda

but also remember those personal victories, like a successful custom design or a particularly heartfelt thank you from a customer - and don’t forget to try to capture all of these moments. Get as much of it on video as possible. Use it on your website, social media, and even on your Google Business Profile! Riding the Wave of Trends Let’s not forget to stay trendy. Have you heard about these earpiercing parties? Or what about offering a ‘jewelry spa day’ where customers bring in their pieces for cleaning, or permanent jewelry parties? These aren’t just trends; they’re fun ways to bring people together and create lasting memories - and customers! Conclusion So there you have it, a heartto-heart on making 2024 a dazzling year for your jewelry store. Remember, it’s about understanding your customers, being smart

with your budget, and keeping your marketing as dynamic as your jewelry. And hey, if you ever feel like you’re in over your head or just want a fresh perspective on making your store shine, I’m here for you. Reach out anytime. We here at Jewelry Store Marketers love helping jewelers grow, and crafting a marketing plan that’s works for you, your store, and your budget. Guy Pineda, CEO of Jewelry Store Marketers, has owned an award winning digital agency for the past 15 years and has been working in the jewelry industry for close to 30 years. Jewelry Store Marketers is niche agency that helps jewelry stores get more appointments and increase sales through Local SEO, Digital Marketing, Website Development, Social Media, Videos and more. Learn more at jewelrystoremarketers.com.

Continued from page 31 ences creates a harmony that speaks to all kinds of customers. Think of your website as your digital storefront - it should be as welcoming and beautiful as your physical store. Make your online and offline presence seamless and complement each other. QR codes are great ways to support your print marketing that leads to your website. Don’t just think of each marketing channel as a stand-alone activity. Make your marketing plan sing across all of your marketing activities. What Does Success Look Like? Success isn’t just about numbers; it’s about smiles, conversations, and those magical moments when a customer finds the piece they’ve been dreaming of. Sure, keep an eye on your sales figures,

der styles. • Free Marketing Resources: Access to a library of lifestyle and web-ready images and videos for use in various marketing channels.

Additional Features • Global Bridal Sweepstakes: Offers a unique marketing opportunity to increase brand exposure and customer engagement. • Customization Options: Tailor the Bridal Book to include the retailer’s jewelry and watch brands, enhancing co-branding opportunities. • Comprehensive Marketing Support: ASHI provides television commercials, in-store marketing visuals, and other materials, all customizable and free of charge. To learn more about ASHI and the 2024 Bridal Collection, call 800-622-ASHI (2744), reach out to your regional ASHI sales representative, or visit ashidiamonds.com.

GIA introduces Enhanced Jade Report (CARLSBAD, Calif.) - GIA (the Gemological Institute of America), whose expertise spans gemological research, laboratory services and education, is introducing the GIA Jade Report, featuring additional gemological information and a sleek, user-friendly layout to enhance the overall report experience for both industry professionals and consumers. “We made these improvements to our ‘Jade Report’ recognizing its history, symbolism and overall importance to consumers,” said Tom Moses, executive vice president and chief laboratory and research officer at GIA. The new GIA Jade Report provides key information in a streamlined format. One notable improvement is the inclusion of a dedicated section under “Results” that details the type, when appropriate. The addition of a table featuring type definitions further adds to the report’s depth and clarity. The commonly used trade term “Fei Cui” will be listed in the comments section when appropriate with the explanatory note stating that “Fei Cui” refers to jadeite, omphacite, and kosmochlor. For more information about the GIA Jade Report and other laboratory services, please visit GIA.edu.


Industry Events

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Jewelry News • February 2024

JCK 2024 Las Vegas registration opens (NORWALK, Conn.) JCK, operated by RX, has opened registration for the highly anticipated 2024 event, returning to The Venetian Expo & The Venetian Resort. JCK will be Friday, May 31 - Monday June 3, 2024 and Luxury Wednesday, May 29 - Monday, June 3, By Invitation Only May 29 & May 30. With LOVE as its theme, JCK 2024 will demonstrate the passion and emotion of the jewelry industry and the close-knit community it fosters. JCK’s theme will be seen within JCK Magazine stories before the show, profiling stories of love in our industry that occurred at JCK, and during the show through highlights of these special stories from the community, unique activations and more. Attendees can expect to discover new ideas and new trends to take their stores to the next level while sourcing products from brands from around the world. Exciting networking events and opportunities to connect with industry leaders and peers will be abundant as well as thoughtfully created opportunities for new attendees to experience what separates JCK from other events. As the most renowned jewelry trade event in the world, uniting the industry in Las Vegas for over 30 years, JCK is the place the industry convenes annually, delivering an exceptional experience that delights participants while propelling businesses forward in all major segments of the jewelry industry. With a collective attendance of over 30,000 industry professionals from 100 countries, JCK has become an awardwinning show, that remains a vital

event for the jewelry trade. “We are coming off another incredible year, breaking attendance records once again and seeing very high satisfaction scores,” says Sarin Bachmann, Group Vice President for the RX jewelry portfolio and event leader for JCK. “We are continuing to raise the bar this year while bringing back the energy and excitement, celebrating LOVE and showcasing why we all love this industry. There are truly no connections like those made face-to-face. We are in the business of bringing people together and building businesses - through jewelry, inspiration and unmatched event experiences.” JCK 2024 is set to provide even more unique happenings and serendipitous moments on the show floor - from innovative activations to knowledge-driven content. JCK Talks will return to be even more robust featuring more speakers and sessions than ever before. On May 30, sessions will take place in the Venetian ballrooms off the show floor for a classroom-style setting, while more sessions will follow from Friday, May 31 - Sunday, June 2 on the Showcase Stage and Social Stage. The conference programming is carefully curated to deliver relevant and valuable insights from industry experts and thought leaders. The Thursday JCK Talks 101 deep dive topics will range from security to sales, DEI, marketing, and more. The Showcase Stage sessions include multiperspective panels and dedicated single-speaker sessions. The ‘Track’ format divides sessions

into eight main topics including: Hot Topics, Trends, Business Management, Sales, Innovation, Sustainability & Ethics, Development, and Marketing. In addition to the JCK Talks programming a to-be-announced JCK celebrity Keynote will take place the morning of Saturday, June 1. Returning after a very successful debut in 2023 is the Social Stage where digital strategists, content creators and influencers will deliver daily 30-minute sessions - packed with actionable tips and tricks for content creation, social media engagement and standing out on social platforms. The full schedule of programming is available on the website and is updated weekly with announcements of sessions and speakers. Some of the new and highly anticipated features for 2024 include: A new Sustainability Summit will take place at JCK on Thursday, May 30 in the San Palo Ballroom on Level 3. The Summit will bring together key stakeholders in the jewelry industry to explore and promote a sustainable mindset throughout the entire supply chain. This two-hour event will feature a dynamic combination of a keynote address and a thought-provoking panel discus-

sion with industry leaders and authorities in sustainability efforts. The Summit will provide participants with valuable insights into the consumer mindset on sustainability and actionable strategies to incorporate sustainability into their business practices. Also new to JCK 2024, the Hong Kong Pavilion, historically located within the main show floor, will be opening on Thursday, May 30, and will move to the Level 1 Ballrooms. In a similar fashion to GEMS with AGTA, Hong Kong will now be accessible to attendees the day before the rest of the show for the opportunity to start networking and sourcing early. JCK Rocks, the longstanding industry favorite event, will return once again on Sunday, June 2 at a new location Tao Beach and Tao Nightclub. Stay tuned for the Tao Beach headlining entertainment announcement. To make the most of planning for JCK, attendees can explore exhibitors, events and JCK Talks schedules. Show-goers can take advantage of the JCK Mobile app (available on the Apple Store and Google Play and updated before the show), utilize ‘favorites’, and add to calendar functions on the website. This allows for favoriting exhibitors, mapping out ed-

ucation and evening event schedules, navigating the floor plan and planning ahead. Attendees can elevate their experience to the next level when they upgrade to JCK PRO status - a pass to convenience, comfortability, and cutting-edge knowledge. JCK PRO unlocks access to dedicated JCK PRO registration (skipping the lines), on property discounted hotel rooms, an exclusive lounge and business center on the show floor, JCK PRO swag, reserved priority seating at JCK Talks, and more. As a trade-only event, attending professionals are vetted and must meet certain criteria for access. This year, JCK will be vetting every individual attendee, not only the store/company’s main contact, and further raising the bar by investing even more into best-in-class security measures to continue to make the show secure. Bachmann notes, “We look forward to welcoming new and returning professionals in our community, focusing on providing the best buying experiences, unique moments, and most importantly, continuing to foster business in a safe and secure environment.” To register and for more information visit lasvegas.jckonline.com.

Reserve your spot for JIS Spring Show in Miami Beach (NORWALK, Conn.) - Registration is now open for, JIS, the premier event for immediate and seasonal at-show jewelry delivery, taking place March 17-19, 2024, at the Miami Beach Convention Center in Miami Beach, Florida. Positioned within walking distance of luxurious hotels, world-renowned restaurants and pristine beaches, JIS Spring promises to deliver an exemplary product sourcing experience for all attendees. Recognized as a TSE Fastest 50 Growing Show in 2022, JIS Spring will feature over 300 domestic and international exhibitors. The event will showcase an extensive range of fine jewelry, lab-grown products, silver, fashion designs as well as technology and supplies from leading exhibitors including BA Gold, Heera Moti, Ken Craft, Simplex, Super Gems and more. New to the spring edition of JIS is the ETS Pavilion, a designated area featuring exhibitors specializing in technology, supplies and services with exhibitors such as United Precious Metals, The Edge by Abbott Jewelry Systems, Lighting 4 Diamonds, to name a few. First-time exhibitors like Zahir Damaso USA, Vicenza Miami, Nivoda, and additional participants yet to be announced will enrich the JIS Spring experience. “JIS Spring is where jewelry industry professionals grow their businesses and deepen relationships with suppliers. It’s a fantastic environment to discover the latest trends and products in addition to forge meaningful connections within the industry,” states Sara McDonough, JIS Event Director. This three-day buying event is strategically timed for retailers to replenish their inventories ahead of upcoming occasions like Mother’s Day, weddings and graduations. Like all JIS events, JIS Spring prioritizes the convenience of immediate or future product delivery, featuring hundreds of suppliers from the most prominent jewelry-producing regions globally. “Don’t miss out on the premier event for the jewelry trade. Register now, book your travel and secure your spot for JIS Spring 2024,” urges McDonough. To register or for more information visit jisspring2024.com.


Jewelry News • February 2024

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(MONTCLAIR, N.J.) Registration is now open for The INSTORE Show, back for year two on August 11-12, 2024. Attendees can register for a free badge by visiting theinstoreshow. com. Presented by INSTORE magazine and in partnership with MJSA and the Chicago Responsible Jewelry Conference 2024, The INSTORE Show once again will be at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL. After the inaugural event in August 2023, this exclusive trade show for the fine jewelry industry has proven to be a successful event, drawing in retailers from the Midwest and across the country and offering buyers a chance to stock up on inventory before the holiday season. William Jones IV, of Sissy’s Log Cabin in AR and TN, raved: “What a great show, a great place to collaborate with retailers and the top vendors in the nation. The INSTORE Show is a great event

to bring staff to experience what it’s like to run and inventory your store. With the talks, the vendors, and the Chicago experience, it is a must visit.” The INSTORE Show 2024 is a gateway for retail store owners, managers, and buyers to connect with leading vendors and service providers, discover the latest industry trends, and immerse themselves in a conference program that lives up to the INSTORE name. Beyond buying from wellknown and respected exhibitors, the show is also known for its interactive networking opportunities, including the Saturday Welcome Reception and the Sunday Evening Play It Cool Party. “The feedback we received after last year’s show was very positive,” said Matthijs Braakman, CEO of SmartWork Media, which owns the INSTORE Show. “Retailers and exhibitors alike have been requesting this show to return for several years now.

They especially enjoy hearing the success stories of other area retailers and having the ability to place their orders easily and efficiently. At bigger shows, retailers just can’t get the face time they want with the suppliers they’ve done business with for years. The INSTORE Show also offers a big punch of fun in a venue that’s easily accessible and close to Chicago for after-hours dining and entertainment.” Highlights of the 2024 show include: • Bench Pressure Challenge: A popular, no-holds-barred contest to see who is the best on the jeweler’s bench. • Cram Day: A full day of pre-show education, featuring retailers and experts sharing best practices. • INSTORE Buying: Over 200 booths featuring the industry’s top vendors and service providers. • Saturday Welcome Reception: Mingling with jewelry pro

peers and making new connections at the show kickoff. • Play it Cool Party: An evening of networking and fun with fellow retailers and vendors and celebrating the winners of INSTORE’s 2024 Cool Stores competition. “I didn’t know how much I missed this show until it was back,” shared Karen Hollis of K. Hollis Jewelers in Batavia, IL. “I loved all the different break-out sessions and found that there was something for everyone in every session offered. I found a couple of new designers that I’m really excited about too. It is always great to see fellow store owners and staff at these events. It is fun sharing ideas and thoughts about our amazing industry. Looking forward to the next show and will continue to read INSTORE magazine because of all the great ideas shared with us all.” For more information visit theinstoreshow.com or email to info@theinstoreshow.com.

Stuff

So Which Lab? The trade offers up several options when choosing a grading lab for diamonds. GIA (Gemological Institute of America) is widely known to the public and boasts a global network. Operating since the early 20th century, the lab also began grading laboratory grown diamonds in 2007. GCAL by Sarine offers AI technology and advanced instrumentations which delivers a broad spectrum of data about each diamond. They are recognized for their proprietary technology GEMPRINT which positively identifies each unique diamond. AGS (American Gem Society), a respected industry contributor utilizes their proprietary clarity grading system that requires a bit of a tutorial to fully master its terminology. Still other labs like IGI (International Gemological Institute) delivers reports with color and clarity grades that are distinct from the more well known GIA. They were early adopters to the task of grading lab grown diamonds. EGL (European Gemological Laboratories) are a collective franchise of global labs. As per EGL USA’s website, they evaluate diamonds, color diamonds and gemstones, plus pearls, loose rough stones, and lab-grown diamonds. Are Consumers Loyal About Reports?

So, does a particular lab report matter to consumers? Not always, says Jake Fox, owner of J. Fox Custom, Boerne, TX. “For those who aren’t dead-set on GIA when they walk in your door, it doesn’t particularly matter.” Fox’s experience proves the salesperson can help the customer fall in love with the stone, given the price is

to Americans at least, are the De Beers grading labs. Originally named International Institute of Diamond Grading & Research (IIDGR) it’s been more conveniently shortened to De Beers Group Industry Services, making things clearer for customers to understand. According to De Beers, the labs based in the UK,

right. “A good, honest salesperson can sell a pretty diamond. The last large natural I sold was an EGL. [The report] was about as accurate as you’d expect, but that doesn’t matter. I sold it as what it truly was (in my opinion) and let the customer know up front ‘I think what that paper says is a bit optimistic, however the diamond is still gorgeous, and still a very fair price for what I believe it to be’.” De Beers Grading There are labs that even tradespeople in the US are not always cognizant of. Not so known

Antwerp and Surat were grading their own Forevermark diamond goods in the beginning. Global diamond analyst Edahn Golan, founder of Edahn Golan Diamond Research & Data is familiar with De Beers grading system. He makes it clear why we may not have their labs as top-ofmind. “De Beers’ labs primarily serves De Beers’ brands, although not exclusively. They mostly grade Forevermark diamonds and diamonds sold at De Beers jewelers.” Golan underscores the similarities and differences between

Continued from page 3 trust you, whatever you’d buy for your wife is what we will buy.” According to Weil, “For smaller preowned, vintage and antique pieces, 95% of the people just trust me with no cert, no appraisal, no nothing.” Every diamond certificate is unique to the laboratory that conducts the examination. Still, they all bear certain similarities that vendors and consumers need to contextualize the stone. Details include clarity, carat weight, color and cut - traditionally known as the 4Cs. These days they also indicate if the stone is natural (and if so what is it) or if it is laboratory created. It’s never enough to accept what looks like a GIA inscription on the stone’s girdle, reports IGI lab in Tel Aviv. They recently detected a lab grown diamond bearing a deceptive GIA inscription number on the 6-carat pear shaped stone. Turns out, it was actually an LGD trying to pass for a natural diamond. Thorough lab testing can make the separation, however. Photoluminescence has become standard testing to render a separation between natural earth mined stones and LGD. The examiners are looking for a wavelength of 737 nanometers which identifies the stone as being lab grown. There can be other red flags too, but this one is definitive.

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De Beers labs and its competition. “All labs provide similar services: determining diamond characteristics. The differences are mainly in the technologies they use, R&D, education services, and costs.” Diamond sales specialist and graduate gemologist Donna Russell, at Acredo, Denver, CO says, “Here I am celebrating over 40 years selling diamonds and I haven’t seen a De Beers grading report yet.” It is her view that GIA remains the #1 choice with mined diamond grading reports for accuracy and consumer recognition. Jake Fox weighs in on his experience. He points to the importance of consumer recognition. “We carried Forevermark diamonds previously, and the grading seemed to be pretty accurate overall. I’d put (their standards) a bit higher than GIA, in my opinion. But it was also less desirable to most customers.” Whether or not a diamond needs a grading report may depend on its size or the persuasive skills of a salesperson who establishes trust in the consumer. And not every instance does the customer demand a particular lab report. But there’s one thing for sure. With the proliferation of lab grown diamonds in the same retail stores with natural diamonds, consumers demand clarity. Acredo’s Russell points out, “With the popularity of LGDs, a grading report is more important than ever before.”


Jewelry News • February 2024

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