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Friday, December 30, 2011

Let’s ‘Rock & Gold’

This is one of a series of articles by Mónica Arias of Excellence Consulting, a luxury sales and marketing consulting firm based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. These articles will focus on ways that sales and marketing professional in the jewelry and luxury industries can improve their techniques.

Gold has a story, legacy and beauty of its own that’s managed to survive through the ages and whose mystery is still attracting hot genuine value as the number one preference of investors worldwide.

At the same time our beloved earth has also been gracefully producing beautiful and valuable diamonds and gemstones since ancient times for us to appreciate and admire.

The moment jewelry makers discovered the art of joining the two they set the foundations for a fantastic and alluring business, as if declaring: “Let´s rock and gold,” long before Elvis ever existed.

Why is the combination of gold and stones so appealing?
There is no conclusive answer. Rocks and gold simply look fantastic together. The simplest set of earrings can make all the difference if designed elegantly, respecting a true balance between the metal and the stones.

But this is too simple a statement because we are leaving aside the main elements to this gold and rock success: As in the movement once presided by Elvis, the revolution of Gold & Rock is directly associated with intense color. Magic comes out of brilliant colors in full vibrancy of grades which produce the fascination that comes from choosing a jewel we love.

As an example, let´s take rubies. According to many experts, rubies, which mainly come from Myanmar and Thailand, are considered to be the most powerful gems in the universe, usually associated with astral signs and protection to the living. Its magical influence is associated with life force, passion and love. It’s been said that to own a ruby is to have contentment and peace. And when rubies are set in gold they are considered the symbol of vitality and royalty.

However, what is even more striking and fascinating about rubies is their wide range of color, which varies from slightly vermilion to intense red, with the most desired and valuable being the famous “pigeon´s blood” tone.

It’s amazing to have such a wonderful description of meanings and features to help us make the most appropriate connection with the jewel. So wouldn´t you agree that you could literally add value to your demonstration if your customer showed a certain inclination to one of these features?

Whenever possible, do yourself a favor. Next time you are in front of a client, try to Rock & Gold a bit before making any demonstration. In other words, seriously, make the effort to express your true passion for gemstones and gold.

Ask the customer as many open questions about them as you can (see the “open question parade,” which appears in most of my articles). Then begin working towards influencing what you perceive as their preferences by associating the exact feature of the piece that will make the strongest impact in your customer. Trust me, the rock and gold tactic will help you see through your customer’s real passion about a particular piece and you will celebrate a long-term sales bliss after having investigated further on Rock & Gold and its infinite benefits. I am sure Elvis will give a thumbs up.

Mónica M. Arias
Excellence Consultant: Helping you discover how to reach your next level through excellence.
copyright: Mónica M. Arias

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Who Bought What at the Elizabeth Taylor Auction and Why

 I’ve never thought of my jewelry as trophies. I’m here to take care of them and to love them – Elizabeth Taylor

After viewing one of the most complete and magnificent private collections of jewelry, art, memorabilia, accessories and other articles ever amassed by a single person during The Collection of Elizabeth Taylor exhibition at Christie’s New York, I wrote the following:

This collection represents a life well spent. Christie’s presentation of the exhibit makes it seem as if her life’s work was complete.

It’s almost a shame that these items will soon be separated.

However, after attending the two days of the fine jewelry sales (part of the four-day Elizabeth Taylor auction at Christie’s New York along with an “online only” component), my mind has changed.

I met friends of Taylor and those who never knew her. I met people who purchased the product because of their ties to Taylor, because of their fascination with a particular piece, or to use what they purchased in their business. It was auction that attracted some of the world’s wealthiest people, celebrities, top professionals in the jewelry and gems industries, and those of modest means.

Bidders prepare for the opening night auction to begin. Photo credit: Anthony DeMarco

The jewelry and other items amassed will be used in all sorts of ways. The important part is that it appears that the jewelry will be used and that’s the way Taylor, it seems, would have wanted it. After all, this is a woman who wore a 33-carat diamond ring almost every day and who was filmed wearing a priceless ruby jewelry collection by the pool. Taylor didn’t put her baubles away for special occasion, she wore them. And her collection showed an appreciation of priceless pieces along with far less expensive items because she either admired the work or they had personal meaning.

Photo credit: Christie's
Jewelry designer to the stars Lorraine Schwartz bought back the fringe diamond bracelet that Taylor bought from her for her 70th birthday.

“I was wearing it for her party at the Bel-Air Hotel, and she kept calling me over to look at it and to try it on,” Schwartz wrote on her facebook page. “Finally, the next morning she called me and said “‘I know who’s buying that bracelet for my birthday … I’m buying it for my birthday!’”

Photo credit: Christie's
Schwartz also bought a pair of earrings that Taylor’s third husband, Michael Todd, created just for her.

“I could feel Elizabeth nudging me telling me to buy them,” Schwartz said on the auction floor during the second day. “That’s what she used to do. She used to say, ‘go ahead buy it.’ She’d be kicking me under the table (saying), ‘Go ahead. You know you want it.’”

Photo credit: Christie's
Schwartz was very busy for the two days. In addition to what she purchased she lost a bid for one of her pieces and purchased a lot of three of her own bangles for Kim Kardashian, who paid $64,900, well above the high $8,000 estimate. “If you have a piece of jade, the energy goes into the piece and you absorb the energy,” Kardashian said by phone. “So I can feel Elizabeth in the piece.”

Photo credit: Christie's
Companies of course got into the act for the larger pieces. The 33.19-carat Elizabeth Taylor Diamond (also known as the Taylor-Burton diamond and formerly called as the Krupp diamond), a gift from Richard Burton, was reportedly bought by South Korean businessman Daniel Pang for $8.8 million. He was bidding on behalf of E-land World, a South Korean concern. The company plans to exhibit the diamond ring at “E World,” an amusement park in Daegu, according to reports.

Photo credit: Christie's
Bulgari, the Italian luxury jewelry house, bought back $20 million worth of jewels, including a 52.72-carat sapphire-and-diamond sautoir for $5.9 million and an emerald-and-diamond necklace for $6.1 million, according to the New York Post.

Photo credit: Anthony DeMarco
Then there’s the paper jewelry. The gag gift from Malcolm Forbes to Taylor has garnered a great deal of media attention—much of it from me. The suite of paper jewelry had a high estimate of $300. It sold on the second day for $6,875. It was purchased by Jenny and John Caro, owners of Jewelry By Design, an independent jewelry store in Woodbridge, Va.

The couple came to the auction with a $50,000 line of credit and in a few minutes it was obvious they were being priced out of buying any real jewelry. So when the paper jewelry came up on the second day, they went all out to win the lot. The couple is using the paper jewelry along with two jewelry pieces they purchased on the online only auction to create an Elizabeth Taylor display for their customers. The jewelry was chosen because they had pictures of Taylor wearing the pieces in books that will be used in the display.

“We’re a good example of a business doing things, being different and taking risks to help our business grow,” Jenny said in a phone interview.

“You couldn’t go by the intrinsic value of jewels, because the truth is everything was selling so high that what you bought you couldn’t turn around,” she added. “The South Korean who bought the Burton diamond bought it for a business reason. What is $8.8 million when it comes to advertising worldwide? What’s $6,800 when it comes to local advertising?”

Using the Forbes gift as inspiration, Christie’s created its own full-color paper jewelry book with recreations of 15 of Taylor’s most iconic jewels. It ran as a limited edition of 5,000 and was available for purchase in person at Christie’s headquarters during the New York exhibition, which was held December 3 -12. It was sold for $25 each, $5 of which went to the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation.

Los Angeles jewelry designer Sandra Müller had her own unique story. She first met Taylor as a child while living in Europe and credited the actress with inspiring her to build a life in the jewelry field. Taylor was a friend of her parents. As an adult working and living in Los Angeles, she said she would visit Taylor’s house often as a friend and to show her work. In 2001, Taylor bought three of her pieces.

Müller was already planning to go to the auction to bid for a client. While looking through the auction catalog, she discovered that those pieces were being sold as part of the fashion and accessories auction, held on the third day. Her pieces didn’t include her as the creator. She contacted Christie’s and the auction rectified the error.

The high estimate for the jewels was $300. Müller e-mailed me to let me know that her pieces sold for $15,000. With commission the total was actually $18,750.

“The 18k gold value alone would be about 10,000.00 if melted,” she added. “I think it was one of the few good deals in auction.”

I asked her how it felt to sit in the auction room and watch her pieces being sold at the historic event. Her reply was brief.


Matie Anne Patterson Gatz, 64, JCK Art Director

For nine years I worked at JCK Publishing Group and most of those years were good. One of the reasons was because of Matie Anne Patterson, who was one of our two art directors, a position she held from 1998 till 2004. Matie died December 27, on her wedding anniversary, after a long battle with breast cancer. She was 64.

The Telford, Pa., resident worked on several JCK publications, including Trendz, Luxury International, and Facets. Hedda T. Schupak, former JCK editor-in-chief, said that Matie’s “clean design sense and tireless efforts created a sharper, more elegant” look for the publications.

I remember Matie as a quiet and strong person who was able to create sleek, stylized pages for her publications. During the past few days, those who worked with her have been talking about her smile, which was a constant part of her personality. Matie fought breast cancer in the same way she took on her daily tasks in the office—quietly, with strength, dignity and with a smile.

Matie was born in Upland, Pa., on March 5, 1947, to William and Wilhelmina "Billie" Patterson, the founders of Patterson Funeral Home in Media, Pa, now Cavanagh-Patterson. She attended the Media Public Schools and graduated in 1965. Upon graduating from high school, she enrolled in the Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia, majoring in illustration. During her career, she worked as an art director, designer, and illustrator at North American Publishing Co., InterMed Communications on nursing journals, before working for JCK.

She enjoyed traveling with her husband, as well as dancing, snorkeling, swimming, attending minor league baseball games, gardening, and decorating her home. Family and friends will remember Matie for her endearing sense of humor, compassion, calmness, and extraordinary artistic ability.

Survivors include her husband David Gatz; his children and grandchildren; brother William "Pat" Patterson of Livermore, Calif; cousin John Suplee of West Chester, Pa; and many friends. Visitation/Service will be held on Friday, December 30, at Cavanagh Patterson Funeral Home in Media, Pa. Calling hours are 10 to 11 a.m. with a service to follow at 11 a.m.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Last Surge Boosts Holiday Sales Past Last Year's Total

Late holiday shoppers—in the week leading up to Christmas and on the day after—provided the boost to lift 2011 holiday sales past the same period last year, according to data released Wednesday.

Consumers spent approximately $44 billion in GAFO retail sales for the week ending Dec. 24, a 37.8 percent increase over the previous week and a 14.8 percent gain over the same week last year, according to ShopperTrak, which provides traffic counting services at retail stores and malls. Foot traffic was also high, increasing 32.4 percent from the prior week.

GAFO is derived from the U.S. Commerce Department's and stands for general merchandise, apparel, furniture, sporting goods, electronics, hobby, books and other related store sales.

Last week’s sales increase ensured this December will outpace December 2010. Month-to-date figures are up 4.7 percent over December 2010, the Chicago-based firm said.

“With good weather in most of the country and the season coming to a close, procrastinators and bargain hunters hit the stores and gave retailers the sales lift they needed to outpace last year,” said ShopperTrak founder Bill Martin

According to ShopperTrak, a late holiday shopping surge is not uncommon. Last year, the 10 days before Christmas accounted for 24.4 percent of total GAFO retail sales in the entire holiday shopping season of November and December.

“Increased foot-traffic does not always translate into sales,” added Martin. “Retailers who monitored their foot-traffic hourly and adjusted inventory and staffing to convert shoppers into buyers were the most successful last week.”

As expected, shoppers came out in full force on the day after Christmas because it fell on a Monday for the first time in six years. The day ranked fourth in foot-traffic and sales for the entire holiday season, behind Black Friday November 26, Friday December 23 and Super Saturday December 17. Foot traffic increased 25.9 percent over the same day last year and consumers spent $7.1 billion on Dec. 26 in GAFO retail sales, an increase of 25.5 percent percent over the same day in the prior year.

“Dec. 26 was likely the last door-buster day of the season as shoppers returned unwanted gift items and shopped for marked-down merchandise,” said Martin. “ShopperTrak expects a drop in sales this week as the season ends. Retailers must continue to monitor same-store traffic to capitalize on the final week of the holiday season.”

ShopperTrak analyzed foot-traffic from more than 25,000 locations in the United States to create this National Retail Sales Estimate of GAFO—a nationwide benchmark of GAFO retail sales.

Weekly Holiday Internet Retail Sales Up 16%

The most recent week for holiday Internet sales, ended Dec. 25, saw a 16 percent increase in spending, year-over-year, to $2.8 billion, according to comScore, a company that measures digital data and provides digital business analytics.

The figure is an expected steep drop from the record-breaking $6.28 billion for the prior week, ended December 18, the last week where delivery of online orders could be guaranteed.

Retail e-commerce spending for the first 56 days of the November – December 2011 holiday season reached a record $35.3 billion, marking a 15-percent increase versus the corresponding days last year. This increase has been consistent throughout the holiday season.

“Holiday e-commerce spending has remained strong throughout the season,” said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. “We can now say with certainty that the $1.25 billion spent on Cyber Monday will rank it as the heaviest online spending day of the season for the second consecutive year, but we should also note that it was accompanied by nine other billion dollar spending days this year.”

The Reston, Va.-based company noted that over the past several years there has been a dramatic increase in Christmas Day purchases of digital content and subscriptions, a retail category that includes digital downloads of music, TV, movies, e-books and apps. As many consumers get new smartphones, tablets, e-readers and digital content gift certificates for Christmas, they spend Christmas Day loading up their devices with new content.

On an average day during the 2011 holiday season to date, digital content and subscriptions accounted for 2.8 percent of retail e-commerce sales, but on Christmas Day the category accounted for more than 20 percent of sales. Consistent with past years, comScore expects sales for this category of products to remain elevated throughout the entire week following Christmas Day.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Santa Boosts Consumer Confidence Index

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which surged nearly 15 points in November, increased another nine points in December. The Index now stands at 64.5 (1985=100), up from 55.2 in November. The Present Situation Index increased to 46.7 from 38.3. The Expectations Index rose to 76.4 from 66.4.

The CCI is now at back to levels that it last saw in April when it was at 66 points.

“Consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions improved again. Looking ahead, consumers are more optimistic that business conditions, employment prospects, and their financial situations will continue to get better,” said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. “While consumers are ending the year in a somewhat more upbeat mood, it is too soon to tell if this is a rebound from earlier declines or a sustainable shift in attitudes.”

Consumers’ assessment of current conditions improved in December. Those stating business conditions are "good" increased to 16.6 percent from 13.9 percent, while those stating business conditions are "bad" declined to 33.9 percent from 38 percent. Consumers' assessment of the job market was also more positive. Those claiming jobs are "plentiful" increased to 6.7 percent from 5.6 percent, while those claiming jobs are "hard to get" decreased to 41.8 percent from 43 percent.

Consumers' short-term outlook also improved in December, the Conference Board said. The proportion of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months increased to 16.7 percent from 13.7 percent, while those expecting business conditions will worsen declined to 13.4 percent from 16.1 percent.

Consumers' outlook for the job market was also more favorable. Those anticipating more jobs in the months ahead increased to 13.3 percent from 12.4 percent, while those anticipating fewer jobs declined to 20.2 percent from 23.8 percent. The proportion of consumers expecting an increase in their incomes improved to 17.1 percent from 14.1 percent.

The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was December 14.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Win $5,000 in Gold Wedding Ring Hunt on Times Square

Photo credit: World Gold Council

“Miranda Brownvile” lost her gold wedding band on Times Square and is recruiting help in finding it by offering $5,000 for the person who does locate the ring.

The ring hunt is actually a Twitter-based promotion put on by the World Gold Council. The contest kicks off on Dec. 26 with the debut in Times Square of a 15-second video billboard featuring Miranda Brownvile at 1500 Broadway, above ABC headquarters. The video will run until Jan. 1, during which time followers of Brownvile’s Twitter feed will receive clues about the location of her lost gold ring. The first person to correctly identify where the lost ring is located wins not only the cash prize but a two-day (one night) trip to New York.

For clues in finding the ring follow Brownvile through Twitter at @LostGoldRing and the World Gold Council on Facebook (

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Weekly Online Holiday Retail Sales Pass $6.2 Billion

This past week, ended December 18, online holiday sales finally blew past the $6 million mark and surged to $6.28 billion, led by four individual days surpassing $1 billion in sales, according to comScore, a company that tracks digital data. Online sales for the week increased 14 percent versus the same period of the prior year. Several times this year weekly online sales were flirting with the $6 billion mark.

The final online shopping weekend before Christmas, where shipping was guaranteed, reached $1.04 billion to rank as the second heaviest weekend of online spending on record.

“With only a few more days until Christmas, the preponderance of Americans’ late season holiday shopping will shift to brick-and-mortar retail, although the procrastinators among us will still be able to take advantage of expedited shipping and buy online up to and including the day before Christmas Eve with the guarantee of having their gifts delivered in time for the holiday,” said Gian Fulgoni, comScore chairman. “In total, we will see another $5 or $6 billion in e-commerce spending over the remainder of December to finish off what has clearly been an outstanding season for online retailers.”

Holiday season retail e-commerce spending for the first 48 days of the November – December 2011 holiday season (ended December 18), has increased 15 percent to $31.97 billion, the Reston, Va.-based reports.  Overall holiday online retail spending in 2011 is already approaching the 2010 online holiday season total of $32.6 billion with nearly two weeks left in the season.

For the 2011 holiday season-to-date, 10 days have surpassed $1 billion in online retail sales.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Historic Elizabeth Taylor Auction by the Numbers

Phone bidders compete with those on the auction floor at Christie's New York during the first day of the Elizabeth Taylor auction. Photo credit: Christie's

The landmark auctions of The Collection of Elizabeth Taylor at Christie’s New York from December 3-17 realized a combined total of more than $156.75 million with every single item sold. Among its achievements:

* The most valuable sale of jewelry in auction history—the two-day jewelry sale along (December 13-14) fetched more than $137.2 million;

* The most valuable collection of fashion ever sold at auction--the live sale totaled more than $5.5 million;

* Christie’s first-ever “Online-Only” auction—conducted in parallel to the live auctions—generated more than 57,000 bids and took in more than $9.5 million;

* Six Items sold for more than $5 million;

* 26 items sold for more than $1 million;

The opening night jewelry sale (December 13) alone set seven world auction records; among them:

* The world auction record for a pearl jewel, “La Peregrina,” the 16th Century pearl on a necklace designed by Cartier for Taylor, sold for $11.8 million.

* The world auction record for a colorless diamond per carat, the Elizabeth Taylor Diamond (also known as the Burton-Taylor Diamond). The 33.19-carat Asscher-cut D color potentially flawless diamond sold for more than $8.8 million, or $265,697 per carat.

* The world auction record for an emerald jewel and an emerald per carat went to an emerald and diamond pendant brooch by Bulgari—more than $6.5 million or $280,000 per carat.

* The world auction record for an Indian jewel, the heart-shaped Taj Mahal Diamond, sold for more than $8.8 million.

* The world auction record for a ruby per carat, A Ruby and Diamond Ring, By Van Cleef & Arpels sold for more than $4.2 million or $421,981 per carat.

* The world auction record for a pair of natural pearl pendants, pearl and diamond pendants by Bulgari sold for nearly $2 million.

The sale drew unprecedented interest from bidders throughout the world, who gathered in Christie’s flagship Rockefeller Center saleroom to compete in person, on the phone, online and by absentee bid to win one of the Collection’s 1,778 lots of jewelry, fashion, decorative arts and film memorabilia. The total far exceeded Christie’s pre-sale expectations for the sale as a whole and for individual items, which were frequently hammered down for five, ten, or even 50 times their estimate in some cases.

As one of the most highly-anticipated sales in auction history, the collection generated intense interest from bidders throughout the world, with 36 different countries represented during the four days of live auctions.

Of the sales, Chris Wilding, son of Elizabeth Taylor and member of the Elizabeth Taylor Trust said, “My mother always acknowledged that she was merely the temporary custodian of the incredible things she owned. Today, I think she would be happy to know that her collections will continue to enrich the lives of those who have acquired pieces. My family is proud that our mother’s legacy as a celebrated actress, tireless AIDS activist, and accomplished businesswoman touched so many people’s lives that they wanted to have a part of it for themselves.”

All sales proceeds will be directed to the Elizabeth Taylor Trust. A portion of the profits generated by sales of exhibition tickets, event sponsorships and the ongoing sales of select publications will be donated to The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation. An estimated 58,000 visitors viewed highlights from the collection since September, when Christie’s launched an eight-city global exhibition and tour that reached Moscow, London, Los Angeles, Dubai, Paris, Geneva and Hong Kong. The grand finale of the tour was a 10-day museum-quality public display of the complete collection that drew thousands of collectors and fans to the company’s flagship galleries in Rockefeller Center.

“The exhibition and sales of The Collection of Elizabeth Taylor in New York have been the crowning achievement to a very strong year at Christie’s,” said Steven P. Murphy, CEO, Christie’s International. “The success of these sales, with bidders participating from all over the world, demonstrated not only a recognition of the taste and style of Miss Taylor, but also the convening power of Christie’s. I am very proud of our whole team, from all corners of our global operation. Their achievement was successfully bringing this event to fruition in a manner that paid homage to the panache and glamour of Elizabeth Taylor herself.”

Pandora Names New CEO

Silver jewelry company Pandora has appointed retail veteran Björn Gulden as its new CEO, effective March 1.

Gulden , 46, is currently managing director of the Deichmann Group and president and CEO of its wholly owned retail chains Rack Room Shoes and Off Broadway Shoes in the U.S. Prior to those positions, Gulden was senior VP of apparel and accessories at Adidas and was part of the management group that took Adidas public in 1995. The Swiss native and Norwegian citizen also played professional soccer in Norway and Germany before a serious injury ended his career.

Gulden replaces Mikkel Vendelin Olesen, who resigned suddenly in early August due to lower-than-expected growth, which the company blamed on commodity price increases and “inadequate” execution.

The Danish company with manufacturing facilities in Thailand is known for its widely popular charm jewelry. The company is also known in the jewelry and financial industries for its extraordinary sales growth and its $2.1 billion IPO, launched in October 2010.

However, in early August, the company released its second quarter financial report two weeks early with less than expected growth as well as declines in major markets. It also drastically downgraded its sales and profits targets for 2011 and reported a drastic decline in July revenues. The result was that its stock fell about 70 percent in a single day.

Marcello Bottoli, who was named interim CEO during the August turmoil, will continue in that position until Gulden arrives and will report Pandora´s 2011 annual results on Feb. 21, 2012.

Pandora also announced that as of March 2012, Marcello will become deputy chairman of its board of directors in order to take advantage of what has has learned as interim CEO. Current deputy chairman, Torben Ballegaard Sørensen, will continue as member of the board.

“Björn is an outstanding executive who has impressed me with his knowledge and hands-on experience from many years in the retail and wholesale business around the world,” said Allan Leighton, Pandora chairman.

Cold Calling is Alive and Kicking

This is one of a series of articles by Mónica Arias of Excellence Consulting, a luxury sales and marketing consulting firm based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. These articles will focus on ways that sales and marketing professional in the jewelry and luxury industries can improve their techniques.

Let´s assume it: cold calling is alive and kicking! You may argue it is really difficult for luxury companies to get new clients through cold calling. Reality, however, proves quite the contrary.

So, what are the main reasons why this strategy is still used and will continue to be used for doing business in the future?

Cold calling is: 
* A fantastic tool once you realize that more often than not clients love to be called and offered solutions and / or products on the phone, your possibilities to get new clients will go up very quickly.

* A “voice-bridge” between your product and service and your client and prospect. When you make cold calls, you can easily interact showing the right “voice-attitude,” so the person who is listening on the other end will feel your pleasant words as you speak. This will automatically generate a bridge between you and the prospect, allowing for your speech continuity.

* A fun resource for your client. You may respect your client/prospect when on the line but at the same time offer a “tone of your own grace” by saying something casual, or talking about a news event about the market, or whatever the phrase of your choice to lighten them up a bit.

From a professional point of view, cold calling is not only necessary but obligatory. This means you should at least have a couple of strategies on paper to start working with every week, as well as an action plan to follow up on those calls that need to be made again.

Make your own movie
Strategies for cold calling come in different versions but one I really love and recommend using is crafting your own scripts. I know there are many sales professionals that will hate me for saying this. However, I know scripts work so well. I used to think exactly like the haters but then I learned to forced myself to go “the extra mile” and prepare my own scripts with phrases and assorted words that helped me enormously in my everyday work of enhancing my portfolio.

You can even record your voice once you have prepared your scripts and listen to yourself over and over, until getting it right, such as choosing to change certain words for others much more suitable.

In order to be ready, you can always rely on your list of words and phrases I recommended you to craft in previous articles.

Their help is immense and so will be the feedback from your customers.
Once you start using cold calling, do not underestimate the power of voice mails. I know, I know…it is so stupid to talk to a machine! But, again, studies have shown that 60 % of the messages you leave on answering machines offering your customers / prospects to call you back because you have something really juicy to talk about is answered.  Now this simply means that voice mails work, and that 6 out of 10 messages you leave will be answered. Do you know of an easiest tool to make new customers or make your existing clients part of a loyal portfolio?

As Wendy Weiss, the self-claimed “Queen of Cold Calling” puts it: “All sales professionals use scripts, not all sales professionals use good scripts” I would add: “not all sales professionals use excellent scripts for cold calling.”

Take action
Craft your script, make a list of possible questions you would like to ask, write on another column a list of possible objections you might find, and finally what kind of responses you would like to say to overcome them with grace and courtesy.

Pick up the phone….differentiate from the rest, make that call, talk to your prospect using enchanting words and phrases, leave a message, send them a picture of the last exciting colorful collection piece and enjoy your brightness closing more sales every month while making your customers truly happy purchasing from You.

Mónica M. Arias
Excellence Consultant: Helping you discover how to reach your next level through excellence.

Princess Charlène Glitters in Montblanc Earrings

Princess Charlène and her "Heart of Gold" award for her work with poor and disabled children.

Princess Charlène of Monaco wore Montblanc Haute Joaillerie Collection “Seven Stars” Kate long diamond earrings during the German Ein Herz für Kinder (A Heart for Children) charity gala on December 17 in Berlin. This is an annual event where celebrities get together to raise money for children in distress across the world.

Princess Charlène was the guest of honor at the event and was awarded the 'Goldene Herz' (Heart of Gold) for her long-term commitment to disadvantaged children, in particular her work teaching poor and disabled children to swim in her native South Africa and worldwide.

In addition, she recently announced the creation of the Princess Charlene Foundation, headquartered in Monaco, with the goal to “help those in need across five different continents.”

Sunday, December 18, 2011

‘Free Shipping Day’ Marks the Peak of a $30.9 Billion Holiday Online Spending Season to Date

For the first 46 days of the November – December 2011 holiday season, online spending increased 15 percent year-over-year to $30.9 billion, according to comScore, a company that measures digital data.

The most recent work week (Dec. 12-16) saw four individual days surpass $1 billion in online spending, led by Monday, December 12 with $1.13 billion and Friday, December 16 (known by the online retail industry as “Free Shipping Day”) with $1.07 billion, according to the Reston, Va.-based company. Free Shipping Day is, now in its fourth year, is a one-day, online-shopping event when thousands of merchants offer free shipping with delivery by Christmas Eve.

With the heaviest portion of the season over, Cyber Monday appears likely to rank as the heaviest online spending day of the year (at $1.25 billion) for the second consecutive season, said Gian Fulgoni, comScore chairman.

“More than $1 billion in spending on Free Shipping Day put the exclamation point on what will almost certainly be the heaviest week of the online holiday shopping season,” Fulgoni said. “While next week may see another strong day or two at the beginning of the week, it’s clear that we have now reached the crescendo for this season and that spending will begin to slow as we get closer to Christmas, leaving Cyber Monday as the top ranked shopping day for the second year in a row.”

Following a decline in the second week of December, free shipping rebounded during this most recent week, which concluded with Free Shipping Day, according to comScore’s analysis of e-commerce transactions. Each week of the online holiday season-to-date has seen free shipping occur on at least half of all transactions. For the five-day week ending with Free Shipping Day, the percentage of transactions with free shipping reached 56 percent, nearly 4 percentage points higher than the corresponding time period last year.

“Free shipping is undoubtedly one of the most important incentives for consumers and has become a key driver of online buying activity over the past few years,” Fulgoni said. “This season has seen a continuation of the trend where an increasing percentage of transactions involve free shipping, as more consumers demand it and more retailers provide it. During the week of Thanksgiving and Cyber Week we saw at least 3 in 5 transactions use free shipping, significantly higher rates than we’ve ever previously observed.”

Fabergé Unveils Advertising Campaign for the Next Generation

The House of Fabergé has just released a new print advertising campaign with world renowned fashion photographer Mario Testino that aims to reinterpret Fabergé for a new generation.

The idea behind the campaign was to capture the spirit and personality of youth by shooting real young people interacting with their friends, Fabergé said in a statement. Josh Fabergé, a young Fabergé descendent, was chosen as a model for the campaign along with three of his contemporaries—Mélanie de Pouqueville, Nina Flohr and Sophia Flohr.

In addition to Testino, the team behind the black and white advertising campaign include: Katharina Flohr, Fabergé creative and managing director, fashion stylist Carine Roitfeld and makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury.

“We wanted to celebrate la jeunesse doree (gilded youth) with this campaign and make Fabergé relevant to a younger audience,” Katharina Flohr said. “We invited Josh and his friends to discover Fabergé for themselves, engaging with the jewelry, mixing it up and layering the pendants however they like. The result is a compelling image that tells the story of a new generation reinterpreting Fabergé for their contemporaries.”

The new black and white visuals will run in spring issues of niche, trend-driven titles in key international markets, the brand said. It will feature Les Favorites de Fabergé—a collection of fine jewelry egg pendants that introduces a more accessible price point for young customers.

The new generation campaign complements Fabergé’s inaugural advertising campaign, also shot by Mario Testino, which was introduced in November 2011 promoting the company’s high jewelry product line, Fabergé said.

The new campaign features:

Zénaïde Sapphire Egg Pendant Locket
One of a series of three Fabergé egg locket pendants designed in the graphic style of traditional Uzbek textiles and named for the Princess Zénaïde Yusupov, a favorite of the Imperial family.

Oeuf Cadeau Egg Pendant
This egg pendant celebrates Fabergé’s art of giving. The polished rose gold egg is tied with a ribbon of diamonds, of over one carat, and fastened with a bow.

Oeuf Matelassé Diamants Egg Pendant
The small quilted egg pendant from the Matelassé series, recalls the fashionable jeweled egg pendants of the House of Fabergé. The soft, cushioned quilting in matt white gold is studded with white diamonds.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor’s Paper Jewelry Finds a Home with a Virginia Jeweler

Elizabeth Taylor's paper jewelry suite sold at Christie's auction to the owners of Jewelry By Design. Photo Credit: Anthony DeMarco

Out of all the outrageous prices paid for jewelry belonging to Elizabeth Taylor during the two-day auction at Christie's New York, the biggest head scratcher had to be the $6,875 paid for a suite of paper jewelry that had a high pre-auction estimate of $300.

The “jewelry” was a gag gift from Malcolm Forbes to Elizabeth Taylor. She apparently loved the spirit of the gift and recounted the story of it in her 2002 book, My Love Affair with Jewelry.

Jenny Caro, who, along with her husband John, owns Jewelry By Design, a jewelry retail store in Woodbridge, Va., explained why they bought the gift and how they are using it.

Forbes would have been proud of the couple’s marketing savvy.

“Fortunately due to you and other people in the press our purchase of the suite of paper jewelry has turned into a bonanza of free press,” she said.

After purchasing the paper suite, she was interviewed by the BBC outside the auction house. Stories about the purchase have already made the local newspapers. Two Washington, D.C. television stations are scheduled to make the 20-mile trek south to Woodbridge to interview the couple at their store. And now she has a story on Jewelry News Network.

Jenny Caro being interviewed by the BBC about her purchase of paper jewelry. Photo Credit: Jewelry By Design

For a business that advertises on local cable, the purchase has paid off big time in free publicity, particularly the week before Christmas.

It doesn’t end with just the immediate publicity. While taking the train back to Washington, D.C., they purchased two of Taylor’s jewelry pieces through the Online Only Auction that Christie’s is hosting. It will be used along with the paper jewelry in an Elizabeth Taylor display at the store.

John and Jenny Caro.
Photo Credit: Jewelry By Design
“We’re a good example of a business doing things, being different and taking risks to help our business grow,” she said. “What many people see as foolish can be wise.”

She compares her purchase to the purchase of the 33-carat Burton-Taylor diamond by the Korean-based E Land Group, who said they are going to exhibit it at “E World,” an amusement park in Daegu, according to published reports.

“You couldn’t go by the intrinsic value of jewels, because the truth is everything was selling so high that what you bought you couldn’t turn around,” she said. “The South Korean who bought the Burton diamond bought it for a business reason. What is $8.8 million when it comes to advertising worldwide? What’s $6,800 when it comes to local advertising.”

The couple arrived from Washington, D.C., by bus to the black tie gathering on Tuesday night and stayed at a hotel on Rockefeller Square.

“We were there for Tuesday night and at first I was insecure, expecting people dressed to the nines and a thoroughly eloquent affair,” she said. “But people were dressed in all manners and all kinds of people were there. It wasn’t exactly a luxury experience. It was very much of a no nonsense experience at the auction with the seats crammed together.”

It wasn’t necessarily the couple’s goal to purchase the paper jewelry suite. They wanted to buy fine jewelry that Taylor was pictured wearing to use for store promotions. With a line of credit of $50,000, they focused on the opera charm necklace, a gift from Edith Head, a costume designer and very close friend of Taylor. It was the third lot of the evening and had an estimate of $1,500 to $2,000. It sold for $314,500.

It was obvious they were not going to buy anything that night and Jenny said the folding chairs were uncomfortable.

Photo credit: Jewelry By Design
“As the night went on we could see what was happening,” she said. “We left early. You can only watch so many millions be spent like hundred-dollar bills.”

They returned the next day for the second and final day of the jewelry portion of the four-day auction.

“We stayed hopeful but prices were very high (again),” she said. “Ninety percent of the sales went to people on phones. Who knows who they even were? Kim Kardashian? The businessman from South Korea?”

It wasn’t until the afternoon session they found something they could afford: the paper jewelry suite. But it wasn’t easy as they found themselves in a bidding war as the price flew past the $300 estimate and finally sold for $6,875, including auction commission.

“Everyone was looking at us, laughing almost,” she said. “We were thrilled.”

The couple was interviewed by the BBC outside the auction house. Then they decided to skip the bus, feeling that they earned a bit of luxury and took train back to Washington.

Coral branch, multi-gem, cultured pearl and gold necklace purchased online by the Caros. Photo credit: Christie's

But they were still working as they won bids on two items on the online auction: chandelier earrings and an ivory necklace. The winning bid for the necklace was $8,000. In what Jenny describes as an “obscure book,” they found a picture of Taylor wearing the necklace with George Hamilton.

“It’s a very different, interesting necklace,” Jenny said. “She was young when she bought that and you could definitely see how her taste refined over the years and how it became more sophisticated. We are mainly a jewelry store for self-purchasing women and we see our customers develop their taste and sophistication.

In addition to the publicity and the Elizabeth Taylor display, the couple has more plans for the Taylor purchases.

“We look forward to having fun with our customers and we will develop a line of custom jewelry based on what we bought.”

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Kim Kardashian Buys Jade Bracelets at Elizabeth Taylor Auction

The Jade bracelets by Lorraine Schwartz.

NEW YORK - Kim Kardashian purchased three jade bracelets created by Los Angeles jewelry designer Lorraine Schwartz during the second day of the Elizabeth Taylor auction at Chrstie’s New York. Schwartz, a friend of both the reality TV star and the famous actress and humanitarian, was at the auction and purchased the jewelry for Kardashian. They were sold in one lot for $64,900, well above the high $8,000 estimate.

Schwartz said Taylor wore the white, black and lavender bangles nearly every day, particularly in the latter part of her life.

She also said that Kardashian was going to buy those same bangles directly from her but really wanted the pair that Taylor actually wore.

“She loved those bangles for a long time,” Schwartz said. “She bought them because they’re Elizabeth’s.”

Schwartz is known for creating jewelry for some of Hollywood’s biggest stars, including Taylor and Kardashian.

Kardashian, who was the last person to interview Taylor, said by phone that she admired the movie star and jewelry lover. She also spoke about the power of Jade.

“If you have a piece of jade, the energy goes into the piece and you absorb the energy,” Kardashian said. “So I can feel Elizabeth in the piece.”

She added, “Elizabeth Taylor is iconic. She is my idol and my icon.”

Elizabeth Taylor Two-Day Jewelry Sale Fetches a Record Breaking $137.2 Million

Francois Curiel Leads the auction Wednesday.

NEW YORK - Nothing could have topped Tuesday night’s $115.9 million jewelry auction of Elizabeth Taylor’s Legendary Jewelry and no one expected that to happen. However, the second and final day of the jewelry sale, held Wednesday at Christie’s New York fetched another exceptional result: $21.3 million.

The two days of marathon auctions achieved the combined total of more than $137.2 million, making it “not only the most valuable private collection of jewelry ever offered at auction, but also the most valuable sale of jewelry in auction history,” the auction house said Wednesday. 

Again, 100 percent of the lots were sold during the eight-hour sale and no more than one item sold for its auction estimate. Sales 10 times the high estimate was the norm. Two items sold for more than $1 million. They are:

An antique garland-designed necklace with suspended natural and rose cut diamonds sold for nearly $1.5 million and was the top lot of the daylong session. The high estimate was $150,000.

The other was the most anticipated piece, the Burton wedding bands. Two eternity bands, the first designed as a baguette-cut diamond eternity band, mounted in gold; the second designed as a circular-cut and single-cut diamond octagonal-shaped eternity band, mounted in white gold. The pair sold for just over $1 million after 15 minutes of intense bidding. The high estimate was $8,000.

“It took eight hours and three auctioneers to sell 190 more jewels from Elizabeth Taylor’s storied collection,” said François Curiel, international director of jewelry at Christie’s. “The atmosphere was electric from the very first to the last lot, with collectors from Asia, the Middle East, Europe and America chasing each individual jewel with a tenacity never seen before.”

Wednesday’s event at Christie’s Rockefeller Center headquarters was more casual than the intense black tie affair Tuesday night, but it had plenty of moments of intense bidding, dramatic pauses and even moments of humor. Like the previous auction estimates were treated as something one needn’t be bothered with.

Online bidders were strongly involved in many items and there were many other bidders on the phone from around the world. Curiel said the spectacular results of the prior night’s sale led to more international interest. Circular cut amethyst with turquoise ear clips led to a battle among three online bidders before selling for $52,500. New Zealand’s name came up during several bids.

Jewelry from the House of Taylor did very well with three lots selling for more than $200,000. Taylor licensed her to the company, which produced fine jewelry at several price points. Rge short-lived company had a spectacular rise and sudden fall in 2008 during the beginnings of the economic recession.

Pieces from many of the luxury jewelry brands associated with Taylor for years (Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier, Bulgari and others) had another exceptional day.

Bidders whom I spoke with were awestruck by the selling prices over the two days. But they were smiling, knowing that they were part of a once in a lifetime event. Los Angeles-based jewelry designer, Lorraine Schwartz, a friend of Taylor who designed some of her jewelry, tried to buy back one of the pieces. She lost.

“I was thinking like the dealer that I am,” she said. “I just couldn’t bring myself to go higher.”

One of the more unusual lots was a suite of paper jewelry that Forbes founder, Malcolm Forbes, gave to Taylor as a gag gift. It sold for $6,875. Its estimate was $200 to $300. How do you explain this?

The longest and most intense bidding was for the Burton wedding rings, the last lot of the two-day sale. There was several moments of extended silence as Rahul Kadakia, head of Christie’s jewelry department in the Americas, extended the bidding as the price moved up in tiny increments.

When the gavel finally sounded, the audience let out a breath and applauded.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor Auction Fetches Nearly $116 Million

Christie's employees receiving bids by phones.

NEW YORK - By any measure the first night of the Collection of Elizabeth Taylor auction on Tuesday at Christie’s New York was, as the auction houses often say, exceptional. The auction of some of Elizabeth Taylor’s most precious jewels took in nearly $116 million, a world record for a private collection of jewels.

All 80 lots offered were sold and estimates were shattered then crushed throughout the auction. To the best of my knowledge only two items sold within auction estimates. The rest of the lots made the estimates look like afterthoughts as a jammed room full of bidders competed for items with telephone buyers from around the world.

The auction broke six other world records, including the price achieved for a pearl jewel, the per carat price for a colorless diamond, the price for an Indian jewel, and a ruby per carat.

View the jewels of the auction by following this link.

The big winner of the night was the “La Peregrina,” the 16th Century pearl on a necklace designed by Cartier for Taylor, sold for $11.8 million, setting the world record for a pearl jewel. The pre-auction estimate was $2 million to $3 million. Applause and nervous laughter came from the bidders as the price of the diamond hit the $10 million mark. It was the only 12th lot sold on a day that already started incredibly strong.

La Peregrina upstaged what was expected to be the top lot for the evening, The Elizabeth Taylor Diamond. The 33.19-carat Asscher-cut D color potentially flawless diamond set on a ring that Taylor wore nearly everyday, sold for $8.8 million, well above its $2.5 million to $3.5 million estimate.

Less than halfway into the auction it was estimated in the press area that the $30 million pre-auction estimate for the evening was topped. It was a marathon night where rapid, high-speed bidding was offset by long pauses as prices reached levels that few could have imagined. The auction was led by two of Christie’s jewelry experts, beginning with Francois Curiel, Christie's Asia president and longtime head of Christie’s jewelry department who came in from his post in Hong Kong; followed by Rahul Kadakia, head of Christie’s jewelry department in the Americas.

At one point Curiel said, “I don’t know where to start. Should I ask you? Maybe I’ll start at $10 million.”

The Taj Mahal Diamond, a gift from Richard Burton to Elizabeth Taylor for her 40th birthday sold for $8.8 million. The heart-shaped diamond is believed to have been owned by emperor Shah Jahan (1592-1666). He presented the diamond to his favorite and most beloved wife, Mumtaz-i-Mahal. The emperor’s grief at her death just four years later inspired him to commission the majestic Taj Mahal in her memory. The estimate was $300,000 - $500,000.

A Bulgari 18.26-carat emerald and diamond pendant brooch sold for $6.5 million, spectacularly above the $500,000 to $700,000 estimate.

It was a big night for Bulgari. An emerald and diamond necklace sold for $6.1 million, well above its $1 million to $1.5 million estimate. This was followed by a sapphire and diamond sautoir that sold for $5.9 million, smashing the high estimate of $800,000.

Van Cleef & Arpels also had a big night. A ruby and diamond ring, a gift from Burton, sold for $4.2 million, a world record for a ruby per carat.

The Mike Todd Diamond Tiara, which made some of the women weak in the knees, sold for $4.2 million, totally smashing its estimate $60,000 to $80,000 estimate.

A Bulgaria emerald and diamond bracelet sold for just over $4 million.

Cartier also had a great night. A ruby and diamond necklace from the Parisian luxury jewelry house sold for $3.7 million, smashing its $200,000 to $300,000 estimate.

At the brief press conference that followed, Curiel was asked to explain why the prices for the jewelry were so far above the actual prices. He explained that the items were priced according to their “intrinsic value” and not based on Taylor’s celebrity appeal.

“We wanted to let the market decide what premium to pay over the value of the stones or the value of the stones or the value of the jewels,” he said.

The market decided.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor Auction Expected to Fetch $30 Million

The Elizabeth Taylor Diamond, a 33.19-carat, Asscher-cut gem that's expected to fetch $2.5 million-$3.5 million.

The first day of the most anticipated jewelry auction in (well, who knows how long?) will begin at 8 p.m. The Collection of Elizabeth Taylor sale at Christie’s Rockefeller Center headquarters in New York is expected to fetch $30 million for 61 lots.

“This is without a doubt the greatest private collection of jewelry ever assembled in one place,” said Marc Porter, chairman and president of Christie's Americas.

This is only the beginning. Another auction of the actress’ jewelry will be held Wednesday, followed by two more days that will see Taylor’s jewelry, couture clothing, accessories, memorabilia and decorative arts sold to the highest bidders.

Among the items in the sale tonight is the Elizabeth Taylor Diamond, a 33.19-carat, Asscher-cut diamond on a ring that was a gift from her husband Richard Burton. This was the ring that Taylor wore nearly every day. Burton purchased the stone at auction in 1968 for a reported $305,000. It's expected to fetch $2.5 million-$3.5 million.

There’s also the La Peregrina, the pear-shaped pearl, ruby and diamond necklace centered with a 203-grain pear-shaped pearl discovered in the 16th Century as its centerpiece. Taylor and Al Durante of Cartier designed the piece. It’s expected to sell for $2 million to $3 million.

Another highlight is The Taj Majal Diamond, a gift from Richard Burton, for Elizabeth Taylor’s 40th birthday in 1972. Inscribed with the name Nur Jahan, the wife of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahangir, this heart-shaped diamond is believed to have been a gift from the ruler to his son, who became the great emperor Shah Jahan (1592-1666). It is believed that the young prince presented the diamond to his favorite and most beloved wife, Mumtaz-i-Mahal. The emperor’s grief at her death just four years later inspired him to commission the majestic Taj Mahal in her memory. Estimate: $300,000 – $500,000

I will be attending tonight’s auction and will be either tweeting or blogging live from it, so stay tuned.

Read more about the auction on Jewelry News Network by following this link.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Fabergé Opens Boutique in London

The Fabergé brand continues its return to the world of luxury jewelry under its new owners by opening a store in London. In addition, the company said its watches and jewelry are now available in London’s Harrod’s and it will soon open a store in New York.

It is the first time in a nearly a century that Fabergé, known for its iconic bejeweled eggs, has had a store in London. The boutique is located at 14A Grafton Street in Mayfair.

Due to the repatriation of Russian resources at the beginning of the First World War, the last Fabergé store in London closed in 1915. The store at 173 Bond Street, was visited by royalty, nobility, potentates, tycoons, socialites and connoisseurs from around the world. Fabergé first opened in London in 1906 at 48 Dover Street, moving to Bond Street in 1910.

The new store features a lilac façade that evokes the guilloche and enamel techniques for which Fabergé was renowned, the company said. The interior is a fusion of old and new.

In New York, Fabergé has secured 694 Madison Ave., which will open in spring 2012. In the meantime, Fabergé is hosting special seasonal “by appointment” previews at the Plaza Hotel, Fifth Avenue at Central Park South until December 30.

The new locations carry selections from the key Fabergé collections that include:

* The jewelry collections Les Fabuleuses de Fabergé, Saisons Russes, Le Carnet Bal and the Solyanka Treasures;

* Les Fameux de Fabergé, the recently released one-of-a-kind high jewelry egg pendants;

* Les Favorites de Fabrge, a collection of fine jewelry egg pendants with about 60 designs, rekindling the tradition of Fabergé as gifts for special occasions; and

* Fabergé Horlogerie, a collection of handmade men’s and women’s watches featuring the brand’s guilloche and enamel techniques.

These are the latest of several moves that the brand has made since it was purchased in 2007 by Pallinghurst Resources, a London-based private equity company, from Unilever, a consumers products company.

Pallinghurst reunited the Fabergé brand with the Fabergé family. Tatiana and Sarah Fabergé, great granddaughters of Peter Carl Fabergé, together with John Andrew, make up the Fabergé Heritage Council. which guides the unified Fabergé in its pursuit of Fabergé’s original values, philosophy and spirit. Géza von Habsburg, a leading Fabergé expert and author, serves as Fabergé’s curatorial director.

In 2009, the company launched new jewelry collections, a website and its first boutique in Geneva.

More recently, in July, the company launched the Les Fameux de Fabergé one-of-a-kind high jewelry egg pendants and the Les Favorites de Fabrge fine jewelry egg pendants.

Fabergé was founded in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1842 by Gustav Fabergé, whoc moved from France to Russia in the 1830s to train as a goldsmith. Gustav’s son, Peter Carl Fabergé (born in 1846) led the firm to worldwide renown, winning the favor of the Imperial Romanov family in the 1880s and the award of the Grand Prix at the 1900 World Fair in Paris.

In 1917, the Russian Revolution brought an abrupt end to the Romanov dynasty, and to the House of Fabergé. The company was nationalized, all production closed down and Peter Carl Fabergé and his family fled Russia. He died in Lausanne, Switzerland, in 1920.

By the time of the Bolshevik Revolution, Fabergé had produced more than 155,000 items spanning jewelry, objects, tableware and accessories ranging from cigarette cases to crochet hooks. The first of the 50 legendary and world famous Imperial Fabergé Eggs was the “Hen Egg” of 1885, with the “Steel Military Egg” of 1916 being the last completed. Two eggs were in preparation in 1917 but were not finished. A handful of egg objects were made as private commissions, including the Rothschild egg, which was sold recently at auction by Christies for $19.5 million.

In a second blow, the Fabergé family in 1951 lost the rights to use their family name in selling Fabergé-labeled designs when protracted and expensive litigation forced them to cede these rights to an American corporation for $25,000.

More recently, Unilevel had the rights to the company before selling it to Pallinghurst Resources.