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Fit for Miss Denmark: ‘Project of passion’ is the crowning glory for U.S. team

Crown MaryIt takes an American village to make a crown for Miss Denmark.

Mary van der Aa, a jewelry designer from Michigan who works mainly in Tucson, Ariz., is part of a talented team creating the crown - a far cry from the “brass and glass” variety. The crown is made of solid sterling silver with 1,400 handset stones including a 4.50ct umbalite garnet in the center, as well as blue topaz and cubic zirconia for spectacular sparkle. It’s a one-of-a-kind regal masterpiece valued at $25,000, fully assembled by hand.

Michigan family embraces Emery’s example: Learn the trade, go with the flow, be good to others

Emery groupIn 1947, Emery Weinberger arrived in the United States, a Holocaust survivor from Slovakia. After living in New York briefly, he moved to Michigan and began working for different businesses, dabbling in odds and ends. He was always good with his hands and particularly enjoyed working with antique jewelry.

Retailer Roundtable: Do you offer layaways?

Q: Do you offer layaways?

“Yes! Layaway is a wonderful way to begin closing a sale. Often times the client is set on something and just doesn’t have the funds for it at the moment. Offering the option of layaway really helps tie them to the piece emotionally and financially, rather than just leaving and potentially forgetting about it, or settling for a more affordable piece elsewhere. Not only are they tied to the piece because they’ve put down a deposit, but now the client feels he/she has accomplished something, like they are half way there. This is also a fantastic option for clients that do not get approved for financing and cannot pay a lump sum at once. It is so easy for them to think of it like ‘free financing,’ especially if it is for an engagement. They don’t need the ring until it’s time to propose anyway. I always ask if the proposal date is far off. If it is, my clients tend to really like this option. Twenty percent down, and one payment per month is my layaway agreement. They decide the amount of the payment, as long as it is made each month. This flexibility helps ease your clients and they tend to trust you in that you are there to help them through this. I would absolutely recommend offering layaway options to any jeweler that has not done it before. I have only had positive experiences and higher close rates as a result.”

Jewelry at the Museum I and II

In most people’s lives, they only have a single opportunity to visit the Smithsonian Museum. But for jewelry designer Brenda Smith, founder of Brenda Smith The Art of Fine Jewelry, she has had two pieces of jewelry submitted to the esteemed museum in the last three years.

After a career dedicated to creative work, Brenda reinvented herself and became a jewelry designer in 2009. She doesn’t come from a jewelry background or a family business history in the business. But, designing, forging precious metals and completing color palettes with gemstones, was a natural extension of her creative work in graphic design, advertising, creative director at a college and a marketing manager for a large manufacturing company - her final corporate job before her career shift to a jewelry designer.

Adventure awaits you in Cleveland with Bluestone Trading Co.

Looking for adventure in Cleveland, Ohio? Bluestone Trading Company’s founder RB Grampp, Sr. took a gamble that paid off in the precious metals industry.

The year was 1978, and RB was living life on two wheels, traveling in every direction that his motorcycle took him. Roaming in the hustle and bustle of Cleveland, he stumbled across a street sign that read Bluestone. From there Bluestone Trading was born.

Bluestone staff Oct

Overnight’s Retailer Survival Guide for the changing market

Ovnght bridalWe’ve all seen the statistics on the changing jewelry market: the long-term retailers and suppliers going out of business, the growing market share for online shopping, and the changing lifestyles and tastes of Millennial consumers. According to the Jewelers Board of Trade, there are 13 percent fewer jewelry-only stores this year compared to last.

Retailer Roundtable: What do you expect to be your holiday hot sellers?

Q: What do you expect to be your holiday hot sellers?

“Two-stone rings haven’t performed real well for us, despite marketing the whiz out of it. Each holiday season we do very well with bridal. This year I’ve invested in Fire Polish to help increase our bridal sales. It’s a fairly new company that takes an existing diamond and cuts tiny facets called Nano Prisms onto the pavilion. These Nano Prisms dramatically increase the dispersion [fire] and scintillation [sparkle] of any diamond without changing the 4Cs of the stone, including its weight. I’ve submitted six or seven of my own diamonds and the process really made these diamonds pop. Our clients say they can see the Fire Polish difference from across the store without any special viewing devices other diamond brands need to see their attributes. I have high expectations for this product. We also have dancing diamond jewelry, which has hit at first, has penetrated our market well, and still has some potential for us as a diamond product. But for us, estate jewelry is also a big seller during the holidays. We get the staff and customers fired up for estate jewelry with a huge one-day estate jewelry event we host every October. During this event, which attracts 250 to 300 customers each October, we plant the seeds for holiday purchases by showcasing new products, completing wish lists, and promoting layaways.”


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