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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Richline Group Acquires Rio Grande

Fine jewelry manufacturer and marketer, Richline Group, Inc., said Friday that it has acquired Rio Grande, effective Jan. 1, 2013.

Rio Grande, an Albuquerque, N.M.-based company founded in 1944 by Saul Bell, is an international distributor of jewelry making equipment, jewelry packaging and displays, and other jewelry related products for jewelry designers, manufacturers and retailers. It remained family owned and operated under the Bell Group, Inc. Meanwhile, Richline Group, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway Inc., is a multi-national holdings company of jewelry manufacturers and distributors. 

Under the new corporate structure, Alan Bell and Molly Bell will remain to run the company as president and executive VP, respectively, Richline said in a statement. Eddie Bell will continue to oversee the Santa Fe Symposium and Neutec. The Santa Fe Symposium is an annual gathering of jewelry industry professionals involved in cutting-edge technology in jewelry making who share their insights with in-depth papers. Neutec, also included in the acquisition, is a manufacturer of lost-wax jewelry casting equipment (grain-making and casting machines), laser-welding machines, as well as the accessories and supplies that support them.

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Thursday, December 27, 2012

D.E.F. Supports Flaviana Matata Foundation

The Diamond Empowerment Fund has granted $10,000 to the Flaviana Matata Foundation, which empowers young orphan girls through education, skills training and micro-finance projects in Tanzania.

Founded by fashion model and former Miss Universe Tanzania, Flaviana Matata (pictured left), the FMF seeks to create a future through education and improve livelihoods among the youth in Tanzania.

“When you empower a girl, you empower an entire community,” Matata said. “Providing opportunity for these young girls will encourage others to stay in school and vastly improve their chances for employment and productive livelihoods.”

Matata received the “Face of Africa” award in recognition for her leadership and dedicated service to the African community at the African Diaspora Awards on December 8 in NYC.

The Diamond Empowerment Fund will be hosting its GOOD Awards on January 10 in New Yorkrecognizing leaders who are making a difference in Africa.


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Centurion to Hold Two Keynotes, Two Panel Discussions and Workshops

Jerry Greenfield of Ben & Jerry's
Mike Abrashoff, former commander, USS Benfold

The Centurion luxury jewelry tradeshow will host a pair of keynote speakers who paved two different paths to success. They are Jerry Greenfield of Ben & Jerry's ice cream business and Mike Abrashoff, former commander of the USS Benfold.

Abrashoff, author of It's Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship In The Navy, will discuss how he took over a ship that went from being rated the worst in the Navy to the best in just one year. Meanwhile, Greenfield will discuss combining an entrepreneurial spirit with social responsibility and a radical business philosophy.

“We think both stories are well worth hearing,” said Howard Hauben, Centurion President.

Centurion also is offering two panel discussions:

* "Financial Management and Your Company," moderated by Don Greig, Focus Business Management Institute. Panelists are John Jackson, Albert S. Smyth Co. and an additional panelists to be announced; and

* "Dealing with The New Hair-Raising Diamond & Gem Fakes Coming into Your Market," moderated by Terry Chandler, DCA. Panelists are Alethea Inns, AGS Labratories; Jim Rosenheim, Tiny Jewel Box; and Dr. James Shigley, GIA.

New at Centurion 2013 are "Limited Edition Retailer Workshops"—in-depth sessions on selected relevant topics with a small class size. Attendees will have the chance to spend some quality time with Centurion's various speakers in an intimate setting with lots of time for questions and brainstorming. Attendees must sign-up in advance as seating is limited. The workshops are:

* "Retailers Sharing Centurion Lines That Work" - Gail Friedman, Sarah Leonard Fine Jewelry;

* "Building a Working Team" - (Commander Retired) Mike Abrashoff;

* "What Do You Do When a Wholesaler Moves into Your Market?" - Jennifer Demmary and Lori
Roberts, Reis Nichols Jewelers;

* "E-mail Marketing-How to Reach Your Clients Today," - Ron Cates, Constant Contact;

* "Technology Show & Tell" - moderated by The Knot’s Laura Cave, featuring retailers Ronda Daily and Ashley Daily,Bremer Jewelry; and Julia Gardner, David Gardner’s Jewelers.

The dates for the invitation-only luxury jewelry show are February 2 (arrival day) through February 6, 2013 (departure day) at an undisclosed location in Scottsdale, Ariz.

For additional information, contact Howard Hauben at hh@h2consult.com or (516) 377-5909.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Buyers Market Show Provides Smart Phone Map for Jewelry Retailers

A digital and customizable floor map is one of several buyer services that will debut at the Buyers Market, Feb. 16-18, 2013, and its annual Jewelry Preview on Feb. 15, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia.

Premier Jewelers occupy a pavilion together on the show floor but additional jewelry designers are located throughout the hall. In addition, Buyers Market provides gift and fashion products made by nearly 800 U.S. and Canadian studio artists. 

“The combined square footage of exhibitor booths alone is nearly the equivalent of two football fields,” said Rebecca Mercado, show director. “We’re excited to introduce mobile technology to help our buyers find the merchandise they need.”

Retailers who plan to attend the trade-only show can begin charting their course on the show floor through the digital floor map already in place on the Buyers Market’s website. New exhibitors are added weekly and the artists have begun posting their product keywords in the search list.

The website is also where to register. The $35 basic registration fee includes admission for up to four members of a store’s buying staff, plus access to all retailing seminars, fashion shows and Buyers Market events. Pre-registration ends February 11. On-site registration will be $50. To take advantage of discounted rates at Buyers Market contract hotels near the convention center, register before Jan. 25. For customer service call 866.341.2001 or e-mail BMACregistration@jspargo.com.


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Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Holidays


I thought these Harry Winston Large Cluster Diamond Earrings would help us get into the mood of the holiday season. Resembling snowflakes, these earrings use 10 marquise and pear-shaped diamonds, approximately 4.40 total carats; platinum setting with ear clip closure. Length 16.6mm and width 14.4mm.The cost is $53,600 and available at harrywinston.com. There also is a smaller-sized pair of the same earrings.

Wishing everyone a joyous holiday season and good wishes for the coming year.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Lilian Raji Agency to Launch Prestige Promenade Social Media Program

The entrance to the Prestige Promenade pavilion at the 2012 JCK Las Vegas Show.

Prestige Promenade, a collective of high-end jewelry designers and manufacturers, has retained strategic marketing and public relations group, The Lilian Raji Agency, to manage its social media program.

The new program "will give a voice to Prestige Promenade across multiple social media platforms, providing jewelry industry commentary and regular updates on member activities," said Lilian Raji, president of The Lilian Raji Agency. Its aim is to “develop customer brand preference for Prestige Promenade members and retail partners.”

Calling it the “Prestige Social Media Program,” it will serve as a continuation of programs that already serve its retail partners, including its “Prestige Promenade Online Marketplace,” which allows jewelers to augment their websites with updates and exclusive selections from Prestige Promenade members.

“The Prestige Social Media Program will now allow these same customers to engage a more meaningful relationship with their favorite retailer and Prestige Promenade jeweler as they follow and join the conversation,” Raj said.

The jewelry designers and manufacturers that make up the Prestige Promenade exhibit together in the exclusive Prestige Promenade Pavilion at JCK, part of the annual JCK Las Vegas jewelry tradeshow. Beyond the destination, the organization exists to promote its members through cooperative marketing efforts and  retailer partner relationships.


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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Big Luxury Watch Brands Attract Big Interest in China

For the second year in a row Omega is the top luxury brand based on Internet searches.

China continues to show strong interest in Swiss luxury watches despite a slowdown in the world’s fastest growing economy, according to a survey of Internet searches released Monday.

The Geneva office of the Digital Luxury Group, a digital consulting and marketing firm for luxury brands, said its analysis of 65 international watch brands shows that every category of luxury watches from “prestige” to “haute horlogerie” has seen an increase in interest the first half of 2012 compared to the same period in 2011, with a near 40 percent increase in aggregate searches.

“This shows that the attention expressed for Swiss watches in China remains strong despite the reported macroeconomic slowdown and the economic uncertainty linked to the political changes,” according to the report released Monday.

“Interest for watches is increasing. This is opposite of what the media is taking about,” added Florent Bondoux, head of Strategy and Intelligence at DLG, in a recent interview prior to the release of the report. He did, however, stress that online interest does not reflect sales.

“We know that this information aggregation in fact does not translate to sell out trends,” he said. “The interest continues to grow, but there are indicators that the purchase cycle (as revealed by the data from the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry) has slowed.”


In March, DLG, in its WorldWatchReport, revealed that for the first time, China surpassed the U.S. as the country exhibiting the highest demand for luxury watches based on Internet searches. 


The WorldWatchReport measured results in five market segments: “high range,” “prestige,” “couture,” “women’s jewelry,” and “haute horlogerie” The largest growth in Internet search interest is in the “prestige” category, according to the survey. In addition, the best known international brands also received the most interest.

Out of the 65 brands analyzed, the top 10 most-searched luxury watch brands (Omega, Rolex, Longines, Cartier, Rado, Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, IWC, Piaget, Chanel) represent nearly 80 percent of the search market, according to the survey.

The trend toward the big names also includes models. The top models searched this year remained unchanged compared to last year’s survey but now account for more than 50 percent of all online watch searches. They are: Omega “De Ville” (19.6%), Omega “Constellation” (13.30%) Cartier “Ballon Bleu” (6.60%), Chanel “J12” (5.9%), and Longines “Master” (5.10%).

After years of growth in the major coastal cities, such as Shanghai and Beijing, interest has grown in the booming and vast interior of the country. Again, the advantage tends to lean toward the big watch brands as they are the ones who are able to invest locally in these communities, according to the survey.

Style (such as “men’s watch” or “classic style”) followed by price are the most important factors in searching for luxury watches, according to the survey. Bondoux said part of this reason is because the Chinese are becoming more sophisticated in luxury goods. It’s also easier for Chinese consumers to search for style as many of the names for models have no Chinese translation.

“Their overall knowledge is increasing,” he said. “We know that gifting is a very important factor in luxury watches. If you are buying for someone you would not necessarily look for the price but search for generic name.”


The report can be downloaded directly at www.digital-luxury.com/chinawatches.

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Monday, December 17, 2012

The Exceptional Jewelry News Network Holiday Luxury Watch Guide

Check out the 11 timepieces below for men and women that would make anyone feel special this holiday season.

The 39mm diameter Montblanc Star Classique has eight indices and four numerals plated with gold, as are the leaf-shaped hour-hand and minute-hand. The little second-hand turns its circles on a subdial in the shape of the iconic Montblanc emblem at 6 o'clock. The sapphire crystal caseback reveals the self winding mechanical caliber MB 4810/408 with its ball-borne winding rotor and golden balance. It retails for $10,450 and is available at select Montblanc boutiques and retail locations.

The Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Traditionnelle Self-Winding is a classic watch from the oldest manufacturer of fine timepieces. It reveals its timeless character through details such as the slender bezel, the knurled motif on the screw-down case-back, 18k pink gold, applied hour-markers, and elegant dauphine hands. The gold case frames an opaline silver-toned dial punctuated by 18k pink gold hour-markers. The 41mm case houses an ultra-thin Calibre 1120. It retails for is $31,300. It is available at Vacheron Constantin boutiques in New York, Las Vegas, and Costa Mesa, Calif., or by calling 877-862-7555 for the nearest retailer.

The Girard-Perregaux Cat's Eye features 150 emerald-cut diamonds on its white gold case, 102 emerald-cut diamonds on its dial and 13 baguette diamonds on its black satin strap with ardillon buckle in white gold. It retails for $405,000 and is available at the Girard-Perregaux Boutique, 701 Madison Avenue, NYC. Phone: 646 495 9915.

Baume & Mercier Capeland 10088 is the brand’s first limited edition men's timepiece for Tourneau in the U.S. The 44mm automatic flyback chronograph has a blue tachymeter and black telemeter. It is distinguished by a copper-colored dial and a sapphire crystal caseback. The case is polished and satin-finished steel with an anti-glare face. It’s limited to 250 pieces, each one is numbered. It retails for $7,900 and is available at select Tourneau stores nationwide.

The Franc Vila FVi17 Chrono Bicompax contains the FVi Nº 7 Tourbillon Intrepido. This watch is designed to be sporty and elegant. There are two chronograph subdials at 3 and 9 o’clock with a date indicator at 6 o’clock. The black case is made of titanium, a material Vila favors for lightweight and durability. The complicated movement is caliber FV17, with the exclusive “Gold Concept Rotor.” It has a power reserve of 42 hours. It retails for $20,700. Visit francvila.com to view dealers of Franc Vila watches.

The Girard-Perregaux 1966 Equation of Time has a rose gold case and annual calendar. Then of course, there's the "equation of time" complication, which measure the difference between apparent solar time and mean solar time—perhaps the most esoteric of all measurements of time. It's shown with a gauge that measures the variance from +15m to -15m. It retails for $32,860 and is available at the Girard-Perregaux Boutique, 701 Madison Avenue, NYC. Phone: 646 495 9915.

A convex sapphire crystal and see-through case back give a glimpse of its inner workings of the Frederique Constant Worldtimer Manufacture. The dial comes in silver, with an engraved guilloche design or a detailed world map in the center. All functions are accessed by using the crown; there are no extra push buttons sticking out from the ultra-smooth and polished sides of the case. The Worldtimer function is achieved by selecting the desired city and placing it at the 12 o'clock position on the dial. Internal discs automatically synchronize, and after that, it’s possible to see what time it is in any of the 24 cities on the dial. It is limited edition collection of 1,888 pieces. It retails for $3,450 and is available at Bloomingdales.com.

The Jaeger-LeCoultre AMVOX7 Chronograph is inspired by the Aston Martin Vanquish, this watch has a titanium case with satin-finished lugs. A pivot mechanism allows the functions of the chronograph to be operated by pressing on the watch crystal. The chronograph function can be started or stopped by pressing the watch glass at 12’clock, while pressing at 6 o'clock resets to zero. The retail price is $26,000. Visit www.jaeger-lecoultre.com for purchasing information.

Frederique Constant Automatic Ladies Watch with Diamond features 56 diamonds. Hearts grace the inside of the dial while diamonds are used as hour indicators. It retails for $4,250 and is available at Bloomingdales.com.

The JeanRichard 1681 Collection is available in two versions: one with three hands and a date display, the other with a date display and small second display and in two colors, steel and pink gold. The time display appears against a classical rail-track minute circle. The three-hand version has applied Arabic numerals in a similar style to the hour-markers; the small second display at 9 o’clock counterbalances the date. The oscillating weight of the calibre JR1000, bearing the new signature of the brand, can be seen through the screw-in case-back. The 1681 pictured retails for $6,400 and is available at Kenjo Watches in New York.

Baume & Mercier Linea 10036 ladies watch comes with a double wrap strap in the light brown calfskin, however, there are several other colored bands (single and double) that may be interchanged. The 27mm round watch has a satin finish and a quartz movement. It retails for $1,950 with the interchangeable bands $200 each. Call 1-800-Mercier for purchasing information.

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Sunday, December 16, 2012

B2C Jewelry Show in Eastern China Attracts Wealthy Buyers


About a thousand high-net-worth consumers attended the Treasures Hangzhou jewelry fair, held October 24 - 26 at the Hyatt Regency Hangzhou, according to Hong Kong based Asian exhibition and publishing company, UBM Asia

The jewelry show, held at the second-tier city of Hangzhou, about 150 km from Shanghai, was aimed at China’s "sophisticated jewelry consumers, private collectors and high-end jewelry retailers," UBM Asia said in a statement.

The jewelry show was UBM Asia’s first attempt at producing a business-to-consumer jewelry fair in China. The company said second-tier cities is where the jewelry market in China is showing strong potential.

“The rapid growth of China’s economy is producing a lot of high-end consumers here that are eager to enjoy a better lifestyle by snapping up luxury goods including exquisite jewelry,” said Joe Ho, UBM Asia’s deputy Jewellery Fairs manager for China.

The new show featured over 30 high-end jewelry exhibitors from five countries and regions (China, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Hong Kong and Taiwan), who brought with them a variety of jewelry, diamonds, gemstones, lustrous pearls and jadeite jewelry.

Ho said promotion activities for the show included going directly to financial institutions and private clubs.

“We invited their VIP customers and organized tailor-made seminars on topics that cover the essentials in collecting and investing in high-end jewelry products, which they undoubtedly found attractive,” he said.


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The Spectacular Jewelry News Network Jewelry Gift Guide

With just eight more shopping days left until Christmas, I put together a variety of jewelry items designed to inspire you to buy that special gift for those closest to you. What all of these pieces share are superior artistry, craftsmanship and beauty.



The Cindy Chao White Label Four Seasons Pepper Ring consists of sugarloaf color-change sapphire, diamonds and yellow diamonds set on 18k yellow gold. It's available at Bergdorf Goodman. Price upon request.


Limited to a run of 10, Alexandra Mor Asscher-Cut Diamond Earrings with each set crafted and signed by the New York City-based artist. Each earring contains an Asscher Cut diamond weighing 3.41 carats suspended from a .42-carat round diamond encircled with rows of 1mm of diamond melee totaling 8.49 carats set with platinum and 18k yellow gold. The price is $330,000 and it’s available at Dorfman Jewelers, 617-536-2022, dorfmanjewelers.com.



The center stone in the Amgad Red Diamond Flower Ring is a 0.48ct radiant shaped Fancy Purplish Red Diamond from the Argyle Mine in Australia, the world's top source for these rare colored stones. It's with 1.9cts. of colorless pear shape diamonds. Retail price: $350,000. To purchase the ring contact AMGAD at 212.719.4111 for a list of retailers.

Sethi Couture 18K Multi-Color Diamond Chandelier Earrings features 11.81 carats of fancy colored diamonds. Retail Price: $18,000. It is available at EB Horn, Boston, Mass.


The necklace features a 51.06-carat natural fancy black, pear shaped diamond. Rare in both size and natural-color achievement, it is adorned with fine white diamonds that includes a 1.68-carat shield shaped, E color, Internally Flawless diamond and 553 fine white diamonds totaling 14.35 carats. Retail price: $1 million. For purchasing information contact Ishay Ben-David Corp. at fancycolordiamond.net.)



A 2.02 grayish blue diamond and an 1.89 gray blue diamond center the earrings, which are finished with with 1.85 carats of pink diamonds. Retail Price: $3 million. It's available at Borsheims in Omaha, Neb., Borsheims.com.



Le Vian 18k Chocolate Diamond Necklace, features 7.27 carats of Le Vian's trademark Chocolate diamonds. Retail price: $46,097. Contact Le Vian at 877-2LEVIAN for an authorized retailer.

The Donna Distefano 18k gold, diamond and sapphire 'Mira' ring is made to order by the award winning goldsmith in her private atelier in New York City. The price is approximately $45,000 (each sapphire varies in price) and available by appointment at Donna Distefano, New York City 212.594.3757 or at donnadistefano.com.


The polished 18k rose gold cushions on the Fabergé Treillage Rose Gold Bandeau Rings along with the diamond studs give them a soft, pillow-like appearance. The large Bandeau ring is $8,492; and smaller Bandeau ring is $5,335. They are available at faberge.com.

Montblanc 4810 Star Pave Bracelet is made of 18k pink gold, the void in the iconic Montblanc star is filled with diamonds pave in different carat sizes to create sparkle. The cost is $4,300 and is available at Montblanc retail outlets.


The Nina Basharova Nest Brooch is made of Tahitian and South Sea pearls, champagne bezel-set diamonds and ostrich feathers, all set in18k gold. It retails for $17,800 and is available at David Orgell, 262 North Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, Calif.; (310) 273-6660. 




The Bizzotto Infinito Ring features 18k pink and white gold ring with two rows of diamonds It sells for $6,900. For purchasing information, contact; 760-832-2325; export@bizzottogioielli.com; bizzottogioielli.com.


The Ceramique "Lover's Ring" from Etienne Perret features interlocked 3mm bands in 18k gold & black gem ceramic. Retail price is $899. In cobalt chrome & black gem ceramic the price of this ring is $248. This style is also available with 3 interlocking bands, in a variety of metals for a range of prices. Its available at retail stores around the country (go to ceramicjewelry.com for a list of jewelers) or directly from Perret by emailing Etienne@EtiennePerret.com.

Lagos Sapphire Statement Necklace features beaded and fluted sterling silver surround 13 brilliant, blue pave gems (twc. 36.41). The necklace retails for $15,500 and is available on lagos.com.

The four-inch  Large 'Flower Urn' Diamond Earrings from Madyha Farooqui are made with Rose cut diamonds, 14k gold, rhodium plated silver & diamond pave. It retails for $12,750 and is available at Talisman Gallery at Harvey Nichols, London, or at www.madyhafarooqui.com.

The Mary Esses Large Cabochon Chrysoprase is framed by micro pave-set diamonds, set in a latticework of 18k gold and bezel-set diamonds. It retails for $8,300. It is available at Skibell Jewelers in Dallas, www.skibellfinejewelry.com.

The JJ Number 8 Oval Swirl Stud Earrings are a modern take on old Hollywood glamour with oversized Pink Opals surrounded in a swirl of white sapphires and set in fine sterling silver. It retails for $2,840 For more information, contact JJ Number 8 jewelry at WWW.JJNUMBER8.COM.

The Me&Ro 18k Gold Black Diamond Circle Teardrop Chain uses clusters of black diamond briolettes hand beaded with recycled 18k gold wire dangle throughout this limited edition chain. It measures 20 inches in length and the reflective deep black diamond beads range in size from 4x3mm to 6x4mm. Necklace fastens with a recycled 18k gold hook and eye closure. The approximate carat weight is 86.54. Retail price $18,000 and is available on meandrojewerly.com.


The Carrera y Carrera Danza Maxi Ring is made with 18k yellow gold ring with diamonds and is inspired by the movement in a dancer's skirt. It retails for $8,300 and is available at Neiman Marcus stores nationwide.

The 14k Rose Gold Ruby and Multi-Color Sapphire and Diamond Ring from Effy Jewelry retails for $2,750 and is available at www.EffyJewelry.com.

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