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Mia Katrin

Are you lucky? The Luck Factor

A guy walks into a coffee shop. Self-described as a "lucky guy," he strikes up a conversation with an actor posing as a millionaire. He leaves the shop with a possible business deal - another lucky day! In this actual British experiment about how behavior can influence chance encounters, another subject, a woman, enters the same shop. She doesn't smile or strike up a conversation with the same "millionaire" actor planted next to her. She leaves the shop empty-handed. Another "blah" day.

Richard Wiseman's experiment and book "The Luck Factor" are discussed in February's Oprah Magazine. According to Wiseman, "Luck is not a magical ability or a gift from the gods... Instead it's a way of thinking and behaving." Only about 10% of life is random. The rest is defined by how you think. "Lucky people create, notice and act upon the chance opportunities in their lives." Being in "the right place at the right time" is actually about being in the right state of mind.

Some people seem to have all the luck - the magic touch. You know them. They float through life. Perfect job, perfect family, perfect home. When that promotion comes up, you know they'll get it. Just before they take their dream vacation to celebrate. You also know the other type. "If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all." Even when opportunity starts to gather around them, you can bet they'll be some difficulty that arises to thwart success.

Recent research indicates that luck may not be as fickle as we think. To a large extent, you create your own luck, according to Colleen Seifert, PhD in Cognitive Psychology from the University of Michigan. As Louis Pasteur phrased it, "Fortune favors the prepared mind."

How can you increase your Luck Factor?

• Take off the blinders
Opportunity is everywhere. Relax. Open yourself to alternate ways of achieving your goals. Listen to your intuition. How many times have you not followed up on that lead, asked the follow-up question, accepted that invitation, because "it wouldn't lead anywhere"? Stop negative thinking. We've all heard the stories of the modestly dressed, unassuming customer who enters the jewelry store, almost ignored by staff, making the store's record purchase. We know the truism "Ask and you shall receive." Don't forget the first part. You have to ask.

• Imagine
Visualization techniques are rampant for a reason. It's been claimed that preparing your mind for a certain behavior increases the chances for success by as much as 50%. Be prepared. Do your homework. As you're about to meet that special client or attend that special social or business event, go over your facts. Know your stuff. Visualize a successful encounter. Advisors coach politicians to practice debates with sample questions and rehearse speeches for a reason. Practice makes perfect. It sets the right gears in motion.

• Increase your sphere of influence
"It's not what you know, it's who you know." As you increase your network of contacts, you correspondingly increase your chances for success. Grow your business and social networks through online sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Join organizations. Attend events. Meet new people. The most successful people have the largest Rolodex. It increases the odds of having the right contact at the right moment.

• Be bold
Fortune favors the bold, according to the traditional Latin proverb. Why? It's thinking outside the box. It's moxie. It's chutzpah. It's that audacity to do the unexpected, to go one step further. It inspires others. It takes your breath away. It breeds success.

• Smile
Sometimes the simplest solutions are the most powerful. Be positive. Be likeable. People like happy people. It's the essence of charm, of charisma. Nothing succeeds like success.

The ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus divined, "Man's character is his fate." Culturing your good fortune is culturing yourself. They're intertwined. Success is a self-fulfilling prophecy.



Mia Katrin is an award-winning, internationally celebrated couture jewelry designer, specializing in one-of-a-kind and limited edition high-end necklaces with precious gems in 18-24 karat gold and platinum. Her Collections, which have been worn by A-List Hollywood celebrities, are featured in many top galleries and stores throughout the country, where she regularly hosts Trunk Shows. Contact Mia via her website, http://jeweljewel.com, e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (877) JEWEL-MY.

The Good News

You've already heard the bad. It's been a long winter of economic meltdowns, full of recession-speak and bleak predictions.

Spring is in the air - finally! It's our reminder that nature moves in cycles. From every downturn, an upswing emerges. On the other side of winter's frozen impasse is spring's promise of renewed growth. By nature, spring is a time of hope.

Hope has consequences. Just watch the hair-trigger response of the stock market to daily - even hourly - trends in the news. Depression is a self-perpetuating cycle. Our attitudes affect reality. By focusing on the positive, you help create the reality you desire.

What's there to be hopeful about? What positive trends can the retailer focus on in the current climate?

Less Market Glut
In a market glutted for years with abundant inventory and competition, a winnowing is taking place. For years, we've seen a proliferation of the retail market from brick-and-mortars to the Internet and cable television shopping networks. Now large and small players - from the Fortunoffs to the small independents - are dropping out, leaving a smaller playing field. Redundant, stale inventories are being slashed. The upside for the resilient nimble survivors is a clearer playing field. Consumers, rather than being bombarded with overwhelming offerings, can be exposed to the best options, presented in a more enticing manner. Sometimes less is more. Capture your clients' attention. With less market overload, they will be more accessible to stimulate and excite.

Back to Basics
Business and the economy are returning to a sounder, more stable footing. Rather than business plans and projections based on inflated credit and economic bubbles, common sense is now returning to the fore. Solid, secure growth based on realistic predictions is better in the long run. Slow and steady saves the day.

Spring Cleaning
Now is a great time to restructure. Clean house, getting rid of stale inventory and non-productive lines. Reorganize your store, eliminating old displays and offering fresh arrangements. How about updating your store's image? Have you toyed with innovative options? Consult with your staff. Introduce new lines. You'll attract your loyal clients' attention and capture a new customer base. Investing in yourself breeds confidence. It shows you're here to stay.

Return to Real Value
In times of uncertainty, people are drawn to lasting, durable value. Gold reigns. Now's the time to market jewelry of heirloom value, emphasizing that gold, platinum, diamonds and precious gems are heirloom investments. Bridal traditionally does well, even in lean times. Real, lasting quality has heightened appeal in a fluctuating world.

New, Positive Trends
Change is in the air. The world is going green. Ride the wave by greening your business. Offer environmentally conscious jewelry, packaging and displays, including ethically sourced metals and gems, such as recycled gold. Offer jewelry with inspiring messages. There's a new social consciousness. People are pulling for one another. Offer collections with some of the proceeds donated to charity. Host your own charity events. Get involved. People will notice. You'll inspire others in your community. Positivity breeds success.

 



Mia Katrin is an award-winning, internationally celebrated couture jewelry designer, specializing in one-of-a-kind and limited edition high-end necklaces with precious gems in 18-24 karat gold and platinum. Her Collections, which have been worn by A-List Hollywood celebrities, are featured in many top galleries and stores throughout the country, where she regularly hosts Trunk Shows. Contact Mia via her website, http://jeweljewel.com, e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (877) JEWEL-MY.

The Road Ahead - Change & Hope

Just flip on the news. We're bombarded daily with reports of major banks and businesses reorganizing and filing for Chapter 11. The new administration unfurls a continuous repertory of stimulus bills, TARP and mortgage restructuring plans. Not only is the road ahead changing, so is the very map, the landscape it's embedded in. We're in a brave new world and we're not done yet.

The Pink Panther Heist

Four men - three disguised as long blond-haired women with sunglasses - requested entry last December 4 to Harry Winston's Jewelers on super-posh Avenue Montaigne in Paris. As they were buzzed in, they pulled out a hand grenade and a .357 Magnum and started smashing the glass display cases. Fifteen minutes later they made a clean getaway in a waiting car with sacks of huge diamonds, emeralds and rubies worth a cool $115 million.


In a bizarre life-imitating-art scenario, Interpol has dubbed the suspected thieves the "Pink Panthers," referencing the phantom bandit of movie fame pursued by the comically jinxed Inspector Clouseau. The Pink Panthers are believed to be an international group, about 200 strong, of highly professional, meticulous and daring thieves. Hailing from Serbia, they are said to be responsible for high-profile heists worth more than $132 million at luxury "soft" targets in Dubai, Switzerland, Japan, Germany, Spain and Monaco since 2003. Dusko Poznan and Goran Drazic, purported members of the group, were arrested before the Dec. 4 robbery. Lloyds of London, Winston's insurers, have issued a $1 million reward for information leading to the recovery of the jewels.


This was not the Pink Panthers' first heist. In Dubai last year, members of the group allegedly rammed through Graff's in two Audis, grasping $3.4 million in diamonds and exiting in the same cars. The event, captured on video, became a YouTube favorite with over 200,000 hits. In Graff's Tokyo, the Pink Panthers hit previously in 2004. In three minutes, they made off with $38 million in rare yellow diamonds, including a 125 carat necklace, the Comtesse de Vendome, worth $31.5 million, also captured on video.


The modus operandi of the Pink Panthers is "brazen, very fast, very well-organized," according to police sources. They characteristically case the targeted venues for a week or more, even learning the salespersons' names.


The bane of jewelers, the jewel thief, at times may achieve a colorful notoriety, earning a "treasured" spot in the pantheon of scoundrels. Movies glorify their cunning, daring and high-profile glamorous targets. Combining danger, fabulous jewels and meticulous execution, their heists are the stuff of legend. In a Bonnie and Clyde scenario, the thieves may become celebrated, even glorified. Boban Stojkovic, a member of the Pink Panthers cadre sentenced before the December 4 robbery, is described by his attorney as a "gentleman bandit... extremely polite and nice."


"Because that's where the money is," Willy Sutton, the thief, famously replied to the query "Why do you rob banks?" Jewelry stores are similarly natural targets. Jewelers take note. You can never be too careful. Although the Pink Panthers target the highest echelon of international targets, stores profiling coveted luxury items are always at risk. Closer to home, in Palm Beach this January Lee Havens Fine Jewelry on Worth Avenue was victimized - the robber reportedly escaping with $4 million in merchandise.


The December Harry Winston theft was the second burglary at the Paris store in a year. The previous year's heist netted over $13 million in jewels. The beleaguered jeweler seems to have adopted a note of caution. Immediately after the current robbery, passers-by the celebrated shop, now closed with shutters, viewed in its famed display case, rather than jewels, a large photograph of the missing pieces.


Mia Katrin is an award-winning, internationally celebrated couture jewelry designer, specializing in one-of-a-kind and limited edition high-end necklaces with precious gems in 18-24 karat gold and platinum. Her Collections, which have been worn by A-List Hollywood celebrities, are featured in many top galleries and stores throughout the country, where she regularly hosts Trunk Shows. Contact Mia via her website, http://jeweljewel.com, e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (877) JEWEL-MY.

Jeweler’s Profile Part II: Passion and Poetry

Ron Ringsrud's World of Emeralds

Ron-book-feb"One must speak clearly about clear stones... about ancestral rock... about the emerald's green fire." Ron Ringsrud's passion for the beauty of emeralds is infectious as he quotes Nobel Laureate Pablo Neruda, one of his favorite poets. Ron's soon-to-be-released "Emeralds: A Passionate Guide" (available late March through amazon.com) is a labor of love reflecting this passion. It will offer gems of knowledge "known only to connoisseurs and gemologists" as well as "the human side of the emerald world... revealed with all its romance, history, secrets and joy."

It’s the economy: The “R” word. Leveraging your options.

Quick. What's on your mind? With political rhetoric reaching election-day fever pitch, news headlines trumpeting Wall Street bailouts and mortgage market meltdowns and the peak-selling Holiday season just around the corner, it's pretty safe to say it's the economy. Will sales be strong this season? How are my clients being affected? Should I shift my sales strategy? Alter my inventory?

The Affair of the Necklace - Romance. Scandal. Intrigue.

There’s something magical about a necklace. Thirteen women in Ventura, CA recently embarked on an adventure that transformed their lives when they collectively purchased a $37,000 diamond necklace. Appearing on “Good Morning America,” they promoted their book “The Necklace: Thirteen Women and the Experiment That Transformed Their Lives.” Talks for a movie are in the works.

When the perfect strand of diamonds caught Jonell McLain’s eye at the window of Van Gundy’s Jewelers, a spark was ignited. Not one that would normally invest that amount on a luxury impulse buy, Jonell nevertheless couldn’t get the necklace out of her mind. She started thinking creatively. What if some friends were interested in sharing it? A plot was hatched. Thirteen women would share the necklace, each having it for one month - a time-share for jewelry - including Priscilla Van Gundy, the store owner’s wife.

“Jewelia,” the newly-named necklace, would be used for fundraising efforts to support charities. The thirteen women, ages 50-62, discovered a newfound fellowship that deeply touched and transformed each of their lives.

Jewelia re-ignited routine marriages. “It made me feel sexy again.” The necklace was worn for special occasions - “it made me feel like a movie star” - as well as boogie-boarding in Hawaii. It gave a sense of hope, of second chances, of a new life, of rebirth. “I felt alive.” It bonded the women together in unexpected ways. “What had been a symbol of exclusivity became a symbol of inclusivity.”

The story touches a nerve. It taps into the current trends of women buying their own jewelry, of jewelry being used to promote charities and of innovative techniques for people to own a piece of something spectacular - renting designer dresses, handbags and jewelry.

This is not the first story of the transformative value of a special necklace. De Maupassant’s classic “The Necklace” tells the story of a wife of modest means who, craving something more, borrows her neighbor’s diamond necklace for a special party. In a Cinderella moment, she metamorphoses into the belle of the ball. Every eye is upon her.

As she returns home, she is mortified to discover she has lost the necklace! Biting the bullet, she and her husband take out a massive loan, replace the necklace (they are too ashamed to reveal they have lost it), and spend the next decade of their lives working to repay the loan, sinking into a life of drudgery and near poverty. A chance meeting when the loan is finally repaid uncovers an ironic twist. The neighbor reveals the necklace was paste. The couple’s lives had been determined by the unnecessary repayment of a debt which was not due.

A necklace can not only transform the life of an individual or a group, it can even transform a society. “The Affair of the Necklace,” the 2001 movie starring Hilary Swank, reveals the real-life scandal involving Marie Antoinette that helped precipitate the French Revolution. It’s a colorful tale involving romance, scandal and intrigue that could hardly be imagined if it weren’t true!

In 1772 Louis XV commissions a spectacular necklace for his mistress, Mme. du Barry. The Crown Jewelers Broehmer and Bassenge take several years to assemble a world-class collection of large diamonds and fashion them into a magnificent elaborate design. Unfortunately, Louis XV’s untimely death almost bankrupts the jewelers who have not yet been paid for the piece.

Enter Jeanne de La Motte-Valois, an orphan who, fighting to restore her name and place in society, hatches a plot to sell the necklace to Marie Antoinette. Jeanne collaborates with Cardinal Prince Rohan, an out-of-favor courtier. The fascinating plot involves a famous mystic, Count Cagliostro, romantic intrigues - including Jeanne’s affair with the Cardinal - and secret meetings with mistaken identities.

Although Marie Antoinette ultimately refuses the necklace (perhaps she did not want a piece designed for another woman, and a mistress at that!), she becomes embroiled in the widely publicized trial which further tarnishes her reputation, already weakened by gossip and scandal. The resulting strain on the monarchy hastens its collapse... the French Revolution.

So the next time you put that special necklace in your display case, think for a moment. How will this transform someone’s life? The truth may be magic.

Mia Katrin is an award-winning, internationally celebrated couture jewelry designer, specializing in one-of-a-kind and limited edition high-end necklaces with precious gems in 18-24 karat gold and platinum. Her Collections, which have been worn by A-List Hollywood celebrities, are featured in many top galleries and stores throughout the country, where she regularly hosts Trunk Shows. Contact Mia via her website, http://jeweljewel.com, e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (877) JEWEL-MY.

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