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Holiday Jewelry

  • Tiffany’s Indicates a Light at the End of Economic Tunnel

    Tiffany’s economics up and downs have been quite indicative of the general outlook of our economy overall. And it’s no surprise, right? If you can afford a diamond anniversary ring for your wife, chances are your pursestrings aren’t as tight!

    Here’s the latest:

    Tiffany & Co. sounded an optimistic note for the holidays, saying its sales in the retail industry’s most important season are running ahead of target.

    The comments from luxury jewelry company come as retailers are gearing up for the frenzy of Black Friday weekend and a holiday season that the National Retail Federation forecasts will be the best in four years.

    “We are now a few weeks into the all-important two-month holiday season, and sales growth is exceeding our expectations,” Tiffany Chief Executive Michael Kowalski said.

    The comments followed a strong third quarter for the company, which raised its profit forecast for the year. Tiffany’s shares rose to a record high in early trading Wednesday, and the outlook gave a boost to companies like Coach Inc., Nordstrom Inc. and Saks Inc.

    The luxury-goods industry has rebounded sharply this year after a disastrous 2008. Coach said in October that it is pleased by its sales trends, and French luxury goods company Hermes International predicted earlier this month that it would have a record year.

    Punctuating the rebound, Tiffany said it is seeing the most strength in its higher-end goods. “We continue to see bifurcated performance, with declines in sales and transactions below $500, but double-digit percentage increases in most every other higher priced category,” investor relations chief Mark Aaron said on a conference call with analysts. “This indicates to us diverging effects to one degree or another that the economy is having on consumer spending.”

    Tiffany has benefited from higher pricing of late. For the period ended Oct. 31, Tiffany posted a profit of $55.1 million, or 43 cents a share, up from $43.3 million, or 35 cents a share, a year earlier.

    Sales jumped 14% to $681.7 million following last year’s 2.9% drop. The company’s gross margin widened to 58.5% from 54.8%, due in part to higher prices.

    Sales in the Americas rose 9% and climbed 5% on a same-store basis excluding currency impacts. Internet and catalog sales in the Americas climbed 7%. At Tiffany’s New York flagship store, sales declined 3%. Sales were up 24% and 22% in the Asia-Pacific region and Europe, respectively.

    —Matt Jarzemsky contributed to this article.

    Source: Wall Street Journal

    Shared Prong Princess Cut Diamond Anniversary Band - Click on image for more information

  • Behold the pink diamond – a dazzling, natural color 25 carat gem, just sold for the low, low price of $46.16 million!

    Laurence Graff again raised the auction stakes for natural color diamonds on Tuesday evening when he paid a world record price of $46.16 million for a 24.78-carat fancy intense pink diamond at Sotheby’s.

    The legendary diamantaire, who immediately dubbed the diamond “The Graff Pink,” called the emerald-cut stunner the “most fabulous” diamond he has seen in the history of his career.

    “I’m delighted to have bought it,” Graff said.

    The diamond’s $40-million-plus price sets a new world record for any jewel sold at auction, shattering the previous record of $24.3 million held by Graff’s 2008 purchase of the blue Wittelsbach diamond at Christie’s.

    Four bidders competed for the stone Tuesday at Sotheby’s “Magnificent Jewels” sale in Geneva. Sotheby’s Chairman in Asia Patti Wong, bidding on behalf of Graff, finally emerged as the winning bidder.

    David Bennett, chairman of Sotheby’s International Jewellery Department for Europe and the Middle East, echoed Graff’s sentiments about the stone.

    “Tonight’s spectacular result demonstrates that truly extraordinary objects will bring truly extraordinary prices,” he said. “This outstanding pink diamond combined exceptional color and purity with classic emerald cut and fully deserves the exceptional price [it attained]. It was simply one of the most desirable diamonds I have seen during my 35-year career at Sotheby’s.”

    The diamond, mounted as a ring, is classified as a Type IIa diamond, diamonds that comprise less than 2 percent of all the world’s gem diamonds. It came to the market from a private collection and had not been seen on the open market since being purchased from Harry Winston some 60 years ago. The pre-sale estimate on the stone was $27 million to $38 million.

    Source: National Jeweler

    If $46 million is a little out of your price range this holiday season, why not check out our fancy colored gems, like the warm and wondrous Gemesis or our pink champagne diamond ring:

    Pink Champagne Color Enhanced Natural Diamond Ring With Pave' Diamonds Stunning .70ct pink champagne, color enhanced princess cut natural diamond, VS2 clarity handset within a 14kt rose and white gold frame with .36ct t.w. pave' diamonds.

  • AGTA reveals 2010 Spectrum award winners

    We’re happy to share with you a few of the winning pieces at AGTA’s (American Gem Trade Association), revealed at the AGTA Spectrum Awards in New York City last week. To see all of the winners, check them out here.

    This platinum and 18-karat yellow gold Samuel Getz Designs necklace won first place in the "Classical" category of the Spectrum Awards. It features yellow and blue sapphires, red spinel and diamonds.

    First-place winners were:

    Best of Show
    Todd Reed, Todd Reed, Inc.
    Palladium cuff bracelet featuring a 22.40-carat aquamarine accented with 6.90 carats of grey diamonds and 2.2 carats of white diamonds.

    Best Use of Color
    Martin Key, Martin Key Co.
    22-karat yellow gold “Frame” ring featuring a 1.50-carat blue tourmaline accented with four Mexican fire opal baguettes, total carat weight 1.82.

    Best Use of Platinum and Color
    Niveet Nagpal, Omi Gems, Inc.
    Platinum “Princess of Ratnapura” bracelet featuring nine round sapphires (14 carats total) and 8.48 carats of round diamonds.

    Who Are You

    Best Use of Pearls
    Llyn L. Strelau, Jewels by Design
    Sculpture titled “Who Are You” (pictured above) featuring two-tone gold and silver with freshwater baroque pearls, South Sea keshi pearls, akoya seed pearls, demantoid garnets, a 0.20-carat ruby and 0.03 carats of cognac diamonds on a crystal quartz base.

    Fashion Forward
    Gregore Morin, Gregore Joailliers
    18-karat white and yellow gold earrings featuring a 22-carat lemon chrysoprase accented with 2.38 carats of garnets.


    Bridal Wear
    First place:

    Niveet Nagpal, Omi Gems, Inc.
    Platinum and 18-karat yellow gold ring featuring a 5.55-carat oval tsavorite garnet accented with fancy yellow diamonds.

    Todd Reed

    Business/Day Wear
    First place and Best of Show:

    Todd Reed, Todd Reed, Inc.
    Palladium cuff bracelet (pictured above) featuring a 22.40-carat aquamarine accented with 6.90 carats of grey diamonds and 2.20 carats of white diamonds.

    First place:

    Samuel Getz, Samuel Getz Designs
    Platinum and 18-karat yellow gold necklace featuring 68.77 carats of yellow sapphires, 24.34 carats of blue sapphires and 24.20 carats of red spinels with 22.38 carats of diamonds.

    Cynthia Zava

    Evening Wear
    First place:

    Cynthia Renee Zava, Cynthia Renee Zava
    Palladium necklace (pictured above) featuring a suite of green tourmalines, 75.89 carats total.

    Men’s Wear
    First place:

    Mark Lauer, Mark Michael Designs
    18-karat yellow gold cufflinks featuring jasper agate and lapis lazuli composite accented with 2-mm spessartite garnets and sapphires.


    Classic Cut Gemstones
    Open Category Classic Gemstone
    First place:

    Joseph Ambalu, Amba Gem Corp.
    8.04-carat pigeon blood ruby.

    Open Category All Other Faceted
    First place:

    Ruben Bindra, B & B Fine Gems, 9.59-carat trillion-cut red spinel.

    Phenomenal Gemstones
    First place:

    Robyn Dufty, DuftyWeis Opals, Inc., 36.73-carat Mexican fire Opal cabochon.

    Pairs & Suites
    First place:

    Clay Zava, Zava Mastercuts
    Suite of pastel Cuprian tourmalines, 127.40 carats total weight.

    First place:

    Jeff L. White, J.L. White Fine Gemstones
    48.83-carat square, cushion-cut morganite.

    First place:

    Joseph August Voss, Joseph August Voss
    220.30-carat crystal quartz carving.

    First place:

    Thomas Trozzo, Trozzo
    66.48-carat square, dimple, concaved, scissor-cut aquamarine.

  • Retail and Desire in the Jewelry Business

    I stumbled across this article by columnist James Alperinover coffee this morning. Good points about the changing mindset of today’s customers:

    When you consider the traditional products that older generations considered to be within the realm of luxury, it seems that the younger generation has set its sights in a whole new direction. The status symbols for Gen Y are not fine china, crystal and sterling silver flatware as much as they are the latest big-screen TV, computer or i-whatever.

    Ask a young person, “What time is it?” and they will answer you by pulling out their cell phone, not by looking at their watch, an object that most of their peers consider an artifact. After all, a watch only tells time; today’s “cell phones” connect their owners to the world via the Internet.

    Our industry is not just facing a crisis because of the global economic downturn. We are faced with a crisis of changing tastes and realities. We tend to think that the Internet has affected our industry only through changes in customers’ buying habits and their heightened abilities to become educated consumers. It is true that the days when a customer knew nothing about products they wished to purchase disappeared when “Google” became a household word. But it goes beyond that. Besides changing the way the world educates itself and shops, the digital age has actually changed what consumers want and turned what generations of Americans have perceived as luxury upside down.

    Remember, we are engaged in a “want” business, not a “need” business. The younger generation has broken ties with the past, for better or worse. Nearly gone are the days when people visited their trusted family jeweler just as they visited their trusted family doctor. Even in medicine today, you no longer meet with a family physician who made house calls (remember those?) carrying a black medical bag. Now, you go to a large multi-doctor practice and proceed to sit in a waiting room.

    There is, today, a lack of commitment in society, a fickleness that is all around us in our “throwaway” culture, and one that is reflected in what is happening within the jewelry industry. Today’s young people do not want the commitment of one expensive piece of jewelry. They prefer fashionable costume jewelry to accessorize the styles of the moment. When costume jewelry breaks or goes out of style, it is discarded, its ultimate destiny the same as the sweater that it was purchased to go with.

    There is no insurance premium to pay, nothing to cover a potential loss. There is no sense of, “I have to wear this piece because it was so expensive to buy.” There is no sense of obligation, because, to the younger generation, it is frankly easier and often more fun to own and wear many pieces of costume jewelry than it is to cherish one expensive piece of fine jewelry. Fashion jewelry is an accessory, not an item of luxury, but it fills a niche in today’s world.

    One area of the jewelry industry that has bucked this trend toward fashion jewelry and ever-shifting tastes has been bridal. An important diamond ring now possesses even greater significance than it did in our grandmothers’ time. The diamond engagement ring has become more a symbol of success and status than an item of pure luxury. So although young people today want to feel free to change their minds without guilt about what items of jewelry to wear, they very much wish to show their friends that they have been successful in their selection of mates, who are, as their rings make evident, also good providers.

    Back in the 1970s, the Swiss watch industry found itself in deep trouble as the Japanese quartz movement watches swept through the watch world. The Swiss government had to come to the aid of an industry left behind as the upstarts from overseas took over the market.

    The industry was in turmoil and it took a lot of work, but the Swiss began to catch up and today are viable quartz watch manufacturers. Even more interesting is the fact that self-winding, automatic watches are again becoming popular. This supports the idea that the pendulum of fashion does, in fact, swing back.

    So when it seems that today’s youth have less interest in fine jewelry than their predecessors, consider this: Before too long, once again, consumers will look to jewelry as a desired luxury item, maybe to wear while talking on their new iPhone and watching their new big-screen TV.

    To add to his points about engagement rings, we also see a trend toward engagement rings and wedding rings made of eco-friendly (and affordable) moissanite, like this beauty below:

    Style 9438M

    Classic Tiffany Style Marquise Shape Moissanite Solitaire

    Classic tiffany style solitaire with a Charles and Colvard created marquise shape moissanite.

    Available Center Stone Size: 1/2ct-1 3/4ct

    Call for Platinum Pricing

  • Zales and Citibank Forgive, Forget and Move On

    Zales was a good example of a tumbling company during the last few years. Small signs and managerial changes show it may be holding it’s own and won’t be “pawned” any day soon:

    Zale Corporation has signed a new agreement with Citibank to provide the private label credit card program at Zales, Zales Outlet and Gordon’s brands in the U.S.

    The five-year deal, which goes into effect on October 1, 2010, replaces the jewelry retailer’s current agreement with Citibank which was scheduled to expire in March 2011. The agreement also provides an automatic renewal for two successive two-year terms.

    Citibank cancelled a penalty owed by Zale for a shortfall in credit sales, and the new agreement reduced the annual minimum volume of credit card sales required by Zale from $600 million to $315 million. Citibank has also pledged to provide financial support for Zale’s marketing activities during the initial five year term of the contract.

    Separately, Zale has named Theo Killion as chief executive officer (CEO) to permanently replace Neil Goldberg who stepped down from the position in January. Killion has served as interim CEO since Goldberg’s departure.

    Killion joined Zale in January 2008 after serving in senior management positions at Tommy Hilfiger, Limited Brands, Macy’s East and the Home Shopping Network.


  • Mood Jewelry Recalled

    Most of you remember mood jewelry, big in the 70’s and having bubbles of resugence over the years. Well, apparently, you shouldn’t eat them. Now I’m not sure what to do for lunch:

    A Tacoma company is recalling about 23,000 “mood” rings and necklaces after they were found to contain high levels of lead.

    The heart-shaped jewelry, marketed under the brand name “Love Tester,” was sold for about $4 each in retail stores from September 2005 through June 2010.

    The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, which announced the recall, said some 19,000 rings and 4,000 necklaces are covered by the recall.

    The jewelry poses a danger to young children, who can be harmed by the lead if they ingest it. No incidents or injuries from the jewelry have been reported, according the commission.

    The products change colors when the user’s “mood” changes. The rings and necklaces were sold separately and mounted on round red discs printed with the words “Love Tester” and “Are you in the mood?”

    D&D Distributing-Wholesale of Tacoma imported the products from China, the commission said. The jewelry was sold to small retail shops nationwide.

    On its website, the company said it tests products at independent safety labs. A spokeswoman was not immediately able to answer why the jewelry was sold for nearly five years before the high lead levels were detected.

    The company also was not immediately able to provide a list of retailers who sold the jewelry.

    The commission said consumers should return the jewelry to the store where it was purchased for a refund or replacement product.

    Source: Seattle Times


  • Local Jeweler receives Scholarship

    We’re always happy to share great local news when it’s sent our way!

    The MJSA Education Foundation recently awarded scholarships to four hard-working students who are pursuing bachelor’s and master’s degrees as well as gemology diplomas–all to prepare them for a future life in jewelry making and design.

    Katie Poterala of Tempe, Arizona, who won $1,800 to help her work toward an MFA in Fine Metals at Arizona State University within the next two years. (Her necklace is pictured at right.) Poterala also received a Foundation scholarship in 2008.

    Congratulations, Katie…and great work!

    Source: MJSA Up to Date

    Katie’s Work on Etsy

  • Cindy Chao’s Royal Butterfly inducted by National Museum of Natural History

    An interesting story about the amazing Cindy Chao (Taiwan) and the induction of her stunning butterfly pin inducted into the National Museum of Natural History:

    Amongst the Earth’s rarest and most beautiful creations are precious stones, in which beauty not only remains undiminished with time but accumulates history. Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of Natural History features the most significant and famous pieces of gems and minerals in the world; the esteemed collection includes the deep blue Hope Diamond, Napoleon Diamond Necklace, Marie Antoinette’s Earrings, Inquisition Necklace.

    The melding of creation – first the natural process that occurred more than a billion years ago that formulated these stones which are then taken and crafted by artisans into a new creation – thickens the layer of history and lore into the precious stones as they pass through human hands.

    Cindy Chao’s 2009 Royal Butterfly Brooch perfectly exemplifies this melding of creation, her detailed masterpiece entailing over 2 years time. Heralding a unique usage of rough diamonds, her work representing a breakthrough in the art of jewelry craftsmanship. The annual creation of an iconic butterfly symbolizes the ongoing metamorphosis in the advancement of Cindy Chao’s craftsmanship and techniques in utilizing rare gemstones.

    The vibrant “Royal Butterfly,” is balanced by a pair of rough diamonds on the scales; features more than 20 color gradients, precisely 2,318 diamonds, colored diamonds, color-changing sapphires, colored sapphires, rubies, and tsavorites, meticulously set on both the front and back.

    In 2010 this classic piece was inducted by the National Museum of Natural History, the world’s largest educational and research museum complex serving as the global beacon for the diffusion of public knowledge. This contemporary art jewel was created not only of the hopes of the artist that this art can be appreciated in a new medium, but will also inspires people to dream and create, always continue to contribute to the evolution of culture and the world around them.

    Source: BusinessWire

  • Fall Fashion 2010 – Urban Warrior to Conservative Glamour

    Fall is upon us. We are officially post Labor Day. (No more white shoes, for the more traditional reader!) Here’s a little sampling from Fashion Week, showing us looks that you’ll be seeing more of this season.

    First, the urban warrior look, combining chic with a slight edge. And second, a return to old school glamour, with clean lines and rich fabric.

    Urban Warrior:

    Conservative Glamour:

    When it comes to conservative glamour, we think our Sweetheart Pendant necklace is the perfect accompaniment:

    Style 10119-4.5mm (1/3ct)

    Classic Sweetheart Pave Necklace

    Classic Sweetheart pave necklace with 1/5ct t.w. round brilliant stones set on an 18″ cable chain. Fits a 4.5mm (1/3ct diamond) round center stone. (setting only, does not include center stone).

  • Tiffany’s and the Economy

    It’s slow but we are seeing a subtle change in our economic outlook. Tiffany’s is a possible barometer of economic changing and consumer spending. In short, if people are shopping at Tiffany’s again, then maybe the storm is passing by – though half of their sales are overseas.

    “Guarded optimism” indeed:

    Tiffany Q2 profit up 19% on overseas sales, raises outlook

    New York ( August 27, 2010 ) Tiffany & Co.’s second-quarter net income rose 19% on higher revenue as shoppers bought more of its high-end jewelry around the world, particularly in Asia and Europe.

    In the three months ending July 31, the company earned $67.7 million up from $56.8 million a year ago. Revenue rose 9% to $668.8 million, below analyst estimates of $690.2 million. Same-store sales increased 5%.

    Roughly half the company’s revenue now comes from outside the United States. Growth in the Asia-Pacific region, excluding Japan, was the company’s strongest in the quarter as those economies continue to prosper.

    Tiffany raised its full-year earnings guidance to a range partly above analyst estimates, and CEO Michael Kowalski said the company looked forward to the second half “with a sense of guarded optimism.”

    Americas, seven in the Asia-Pacific region and two in Europe. The company operated 223 stores and boutiques at the end of July, up from 211 at the same point last year.

    Source: ChainStoreAge

    Style 1185MR

    Classic Tiffany Style Princess Cut Moissanite Solitaire

    Princess cut Tiffany style solitaire engagement ring with Charles and Colvard created moissanite.