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  1. 1/ Florida Policeman Charged with Theft Following Jewelry Store Break-in

    The third robber wore blue.

    The first two burglars cut a hole in the roof at a Jared's store in Pembroke Pines FL. The third went through the door –- wearing a police uniform. While investigating the scene of the first robbery, which netted thieves an estimated $75,000 worth of watches, a local officer has been charged with picking up his own souvenir: a watch worth a relatively paltry $795. Both thefts were caught on surveillance video. The rooftop pair is still at large, but the police officer, a nine-year veteran of the force, was arrested. "Public trust is vital to our partnership with the community. It is important to note that we held this officer accountable for his actions and charged him appropriately," the police department said in a statement.

    Read more, see images and videos at CBS News | NBC News

    Friday, February 07 2014 00:05

  2. 2/ Buffett Backs Billion-Dollar Basketball Bet

    The odds are ever in his favor.

    With news of jeweler Jeff Dennis’s $70,000 Super Bowl bet still reverberating on the web, there’s a new sports-stakes promotion on the horizon. And it’s a big one. Warren Buffett, who owns Berkshire Hathaway, which owns the Richline Group, which owns the Honora, Andin, Aurafin, Bel-Oro, Michael Anthony, Sajen, Sardelli and Tru-Kay brands among other things, is insuring a billion-dollar bet that nobody will be able to correctly guess the winners of all 64 “March Madness” NCAA bracket games. The odds are 1 in 9 quintillion, according to an estimate. “Crazy Warren,” as he bills himself during his annual stints behind the counter at Borsheim’s jewelry store, which he also owns, isn’t that crazy.

    Read more at LA Times | Forbes | Shine Times1 | Shine Times2

    Friday, February 07 2014 00:04

  3. 3/ Jeweler Faces Two Years in Prison for Buying Stolen Goods

    Robbery ring believed to have netted $3 million from break-ins.

    A jeweler in the New York City Diamond District has pleaded guilty of receiving and conspiring to receive stolen property transported across state lines. According to court documents, the man purchased jewelry stolen in two residential break-ins in New Jersey. Indicted on burglary charges are the three men who sold him the goods, part of an estimated $3 million haul the gang amassed over a two-year period. The jeweler faces between 18 and 24 months behind bars, plus fines, when sentenced May 5.

    Read more at Staten Island Live

    Friday, February 07 2014 00:03

  4. 4/ Nerds Offer 3-D Jewelry to Help the Dudes

    There’s hope at last.

    An on-line jewelry start-up is offering a 3-D solution to the inevitable Valentine’s Day dilemma of what jewelry a guy can afford to give his gal. Customers can provide their own designs or choose from several templates that provide the basis for 3-D manufacture in brass, steel, bronze or silver. “Look, we’re four nerdy dudes — we don’t know much about jewelry,” said chief executive Dylan Reid. “We wanted to help dudes like us who have to buy jewelry do something that would be unique.” Would you be surprised to learn that this milestone breakthrough comes from Cambridge MA, home to Harvard and MIT? We thought not.

    Read more and see images at Boston Globe

    Friday, February 07 2014 00:02

  5. 5/ Czech Banks Lose Big on Gemstone Gamble

    Pssst: Wanna buy a suitcase full of rubies?

    A group of Czech banks lent almost $20 million against two suitcases reputedly filled with sapphires, rubies and emeralds worth, as it turned out, maybe $5,000. The “loan” took place in the early 1990s, but the stones went on public display for the first time recently. The consensus of opinion seems to be that somebody at some point should have noticed that the rocks were just . . . ugly. And yet.

    Read more at Prague Monitor

    Friday, February 07 2014 00:01

  6. 6/ To-Do: Lose 100 Pounds, Break Engagement, Become a Jeweler

    A Valentine’s tale of love, will-power and the GIA.

    A master’s degree candidate in social work and a volunteer who learned to pick out good jewelry from bad at Goodwill, Anne Johnson was fat – 5’3” and 200 pounds – but not at all jolly when she decided that she needed to make some changes. The Rochester NY woman embarked upon a weight-loss regimen of diet and exercise, broke off her engagement, and followed her heart into the jewelry business. As a part-timer at Rocgold, a local jewelry and gold exchange, she met Martin Gabel, who provided initial training in diamond-buying and identification and urged her to study at the Gemological Institute of America. Long story, short: Johnson is 100 pounds lighter, married to Gabel, and partnered with him in MJ Gabel/Diamond and Jewelry Buyers.

    Read more at Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

    Thursday, February 06 2014 00:05

  7. 7/ French Jewel Thief Kisses His Way to Prison

    We will always have Paris.

    Police have nailed one of the two men who invaded the home of a Parisian jeweler last spring, forcing her to give them the security codes to her shop. After terrifying the woman by pouring gasoline over her head and threatening to light it, one of the two thieves went to the shop and hauled away an undisclosed amount of cash and jewelry, while his accomplice stood guard over the woman. Mission accomplished, the pair left the woman bound and gagged but unharmed. First, though, one of them kissed her on the cheek “to ease her trauma.” Big mistake. Police swabbed the site of the kiss on the woman’s cheek and ran the DNA through their data base. The 20-year-old kissing bandit was found in prison on other charges. Voila.

    Read more at NY Daily News | UK Telegraph

    Thursday, February 06 2014 00:04

  8. 8/ Could Petra’s Big Blue Be Worth $60 Million?

    Company CEO isn’t saying.

    While the jewelry world waits breathlessly for Petra Diamonds to announce its plans for the 29.6-carat blue diamond found in its mine last month, the company’s CEO is playing it cagey about the stone’s possible worth. During a Q-and-A in South Africa this week, Johan Dippenaar was asked to confirm that the diamond’s value might reach $60 million. Dippenaar deftly asked if the questioner was in the market to buy, presumably prompting laughter all around. What he did not do, however, was answer the question.

    Read more at Forbes | Shine Times

    Thursday, February 06 2014 00:03

  9. 9/ Gold’s Price Decline Hits Olympic Medals

    Value is down 20 percent from 2012.

    The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics gold medal’s “podium value” clocks in at approximately $566, according to Forbes, citing a 20 percent decline from the record $708 value for the gold medals presented at the London 2012 Summer Olympics. “Are the Russians skimping? Not so fast. It actually has to do with the drop in gold and silver prices over the past two years, from its record highs of 2012.” Actually, both gold and silver medals are mostly silver – 525 grams, to be precise. The first-place medals have a meager six grams of gold tossed into the mix. Even with the price decline, gold medals would be worth approximately $21,478 if actually, you know, gold, which is “why the last time pure gold medals were presented was in 1912.” Bronze medals, by the way, are made of copper mixed with zinc and tin, worth a little over three bucks.

    Read more and see images at Forbes

    Thursday, February 06 2014 00:02

  10. 10/ Target Will Spend $100 Million to Protect Against Cyber Crime

    Many other retailers remain reluctant to foot the bill.

    Taking its apology tour to Washington D.C., Target Corp. told a Congressional panel investigating cyber crime that the company – again, “deeply sorry” for the hacking of as many as 110 million customer accounts – will spend $100 million to adopt chip-enabled smart cards. Press reports seem united behind the notion that these new cards offer the only possible protection against hacking of customer data, but there remains the question of who is going to pay for the conversion, with banks pointing the finger at retailers and retailers pointing back at banks and the folks at Visa and MasterCard thus far pretty much staying silent on the issue. Interesting side note: Total tech spending by retailers this year is expected to hit $36.34 billion, according to published sources, but only 4 percent of that staggering total goes to security.

    Read more at Reuters | CNBC1 | CNBC2 | Greenfield Reporter | Bank Info Security Blog

    Thursday, February 06 2014 00:01

  11. 11/ Following Cartier Heist, NYC Jewelers Reportedly “Under Siege”

    Robberies were up 300 percent in 2013.

    Noting that there have been five jewelry-store robberies in New York City already this year, including a mid-day smash-and-grab at Cartier’s on Fifth Avenue, a local TV news report says jewelry retailers there are “under siege” from a crime wave that began in earnest in 2013. That year, jewelry-store robberies in the city increased to 15 from 2012. John Kennedy, head of the Jewelers' Security Alliance, attributes the increase to “the presence of gangs who commit this type of crime. It only takes one or two gangs to commit all of those crimes," he told a reporter. "Our recommendation is you don't fight back. You never know what the results will be," he said.

    Read more, see images and video at ABC News | Shine Times

    Wednesday, February 05 2014 00:12

  12. 12/ At Queen’s Request, Duchess Kate Will Bring Out the Heavy Jewelry

    Report also says HRH wants the queen-in-waiting to drop her hemlines.

    There may be no more $35 necklaces for Kate Middleton, a/k/a the Duchess of Cornwall, a/k/a the eventual queen of England. The current queen has put her own not inconsiderable personal jewelry collection at the disposal of her grand-daughter-in-law for her upcoming visit to Australia, reportedly urging her to consider wearing a tiara or two to brush up her image as a future monarch. Media on the far side of the Atlantic say that QEII is also suggesting that Kate drop her hemlines a bit because, you know, a queen never shows her knees.

    Read more and see images at ABC News | UK Daily Mail | IB Times | Wikipedia | E!

    Wednesday, February 05 2014 00:10

  13. 13/ Jewelry Scams Hit the High Seas

    Jewelers warn that gem-shopping on board not a good idea.

    Among the on-board amusements offered by several cruise lines operating out of Austin TX are gem-stone “seminars” that sometimes offer an opportunity to purchase stones at a fraction of their mainland value. After disembarking, buyers head to local jewelers for appraisals and the results are seldom good. Already this month, “I've seen two people who have spent a total of $50,000 and come back and been completely disappointed by the results," says the owner of Austin’s B & B Diamonds. "Just in the past couple of weeks oddly enough we have had people come in with stones they had purchased on cruise ships," agreed a sales associate at Benolds Jewelers.

    Read more, see images and video at KEYE TV

    Wednesday, February 05 2014 00:08

  14. 14/ $20 Necklace Theft Gets Man 40-Plus Years in Mental Hospital

    Attorneys are trying again to get him released.

    Media in this country and abroad are picking up a report from the Washington Times about a man who has been institutionalized following his arrest for stealing a $20 necklace in 1971. Franklyn Frye, who pled not guilty by reason of insanity, was originally committed to a Washington DC hospital. He has languished there ever since, despite several attempts to have him released. The journal of the American Bar Association has now reported on the case, as have the Associated Press and Yahoo.

    Read more at Washington Times | ABA Journal | Yahoo

    Wednesday, February 05 2014 00:06

  15. 15/ Pioneer of Baby Teeth Jewelry Ventures into the Animal Kingdom

    You want it, she’ll make it.

    Florida designer Jackie Kaufman’s time in the spotlight began when her jewelry molded from baby teeth showed up on the HBO series “Girls” and subsequently on “Good Morning, America,” touching off what some media identified as The Next Big Trend. Ms. Kaufman, however, has already moved on. Explaining that she “never work(s) with stones or diamonds or anything like that," she is currently riding a wave of popularity with her jewelry made from impressions of dog noses. Also pig noses. And rat paws. "As long as somebody wants it, I'm able to do it," she says.

    Read more and see images at ABC News | Shine Times

    Wednesday, February 05 2014 00:04

  16. 16/ The Method to Alex and Ani’s $3.25 Million Super Bowl Madness

    Can you say ahhhhhhhh?

    Alex and Ani’s website crashed after the Rhode Island jeweler’s Super Bowl debut commercial in 2013, so you would hardly expect this year’s spot to languish unnoticed. Media reports say AandA’s 30-second run drew 30,000 viewers to the website, crashing it again. In case you don’t have your calculator handy, that’s a thousand loggers-in per second. The spot cost a little more than $100,000 per second to produce and air. At these prices, they would need to sell some 75,000 Cupid’s Heart Charm Bangles to recoup. But wait a minute. Sparking quick sales was clearly not the point of the spot, which touts Main Street revitalization and positive energy and only the occasional bangled wrist. This is image-building, folks, in line with CEO Giovanni Feroce’s expressed goal of turning Alex and Ani into an international brand a la Ralph Lauren. In order to do that, of course, you need your public to know how to pronounce your name, and a lot of folks have been thinking it’s you know, Alex and Annie, as in “Get Your Gun.” Commercial narrator Feroce took care of that nicely, with the broadest “a” heard this side of the Atlantic. “We are Alex and Ahhhhhhhhni,” you see.

    Read more, see images and video at Providence Journal | JCK | Shine Times

    Tuesday, February 04 2014 00:05

  17. 17/ Discovery Channel Goes Hunting for Precious Gems

    New series debuts at the end of this month.

    Mark your calendar for February 28, the debut of the Discovery Channel’s new series about "extreme gem hunter" Don Kogen, who started hustling gems in Thailand as a teenager. Now the CEO of an outfit called Gem Guys Inc., Kogen leads his team and a camera crew on hunting trips to Thailand, Turkey, India, Tanzania and Brazil. You’ll never guess the name of the series. Well, actually you might: “Game of Stones.”

    Read more and see images at Hollywood Reporter | Gem Guys

    Tuesday, February 04 2014 00:04

  18. 18/ Report Says “Putin’s Fishing Buddy” Seduced Away $20 Million in Jewelry

    Woman sold estate jewelry to Neiman’s, among others.

    The Valentine season’s saddest love story involves a 70-something New York jewelry dealer who fell for a 40-something Israeli guy who claimed to be Robert DeNiro’s pal and Vladimir Putin’s fishing buddy and almost convinced her to turn over $20 million worth of jewelry to sell to the Sheikh of Dubai. Emilie Martin’s two daughters put a stop to that, but Martin, who died in 2011, had the last word by disinheriting both of them. The daughters are now suing to restore an earlier will leaving them their late mother’s estate. Ever diligent, the New York Post, which loves this sort of thing, tried to reach DeNiro’s BFF, but says that he could not immediately be reached for comment. Gone fishing?

    Read more and see images at NY Post

    Tuesday, February 04 2014 00:03

  19. 19/ Ultimate V-Day Token of Love Has a Long and Bloody History

    Diamonds were not this girl’s best friend.

    Speaking of Valentine’s Day -- and who among us is not? – a Huffington Post contributor traces the history of the heart as a romantic symbol back to the 14th Century, and touches in passing on the development of the heart-shaped diamond. According to legend, Mary Queen of Scots sent a heart-shaped diamond ring to Queen Elizabeth in 1562, after which the custom of sending a heart-shaped diamond to royalty was seen as a sign of friendship and generosity. Popularity of the heart-shaped diamond began to trickle down from court circles to the masses at some point in the 19th Century, says the writer, and today it is considered the ultimate in V-Day tributes. The writer does not mention one little tidbit that you might also want to keep close to the vest: Queen Elizabeth had Mary beheaded five years after receiving that first heart-shaped ring of legend. Ain’t love grand?

    Read more at Huffington Post

    Tuesday, February 04 2014 00:02

  20. 20/ Bundle Up Your Stones to Keep Them Safe

    Today in “Why didn’t I think of that?”

    At first glance, this seems like the silliest idea since that doomsday watch that tells you when you’re going to die: A little rubber sweater-like thing that fits over a ring to keep the stone safe from harm. But then, well, why not. The $10 Ring Cozy, available on line, is “a clever (if ridiculous) invention you never knew you needed,” reports one blogger. “It's a small band of neoprene fabric that slides over your ring, keeping it on your finger and safe from scratches or dings while working or playing.” The Ring Cozy is also protection against lost stones, and even lost rings, because it is a well known fact that things this ugly never get lost. “Simple and dumb,” says the report, the Cozy is “actually kind of genius.”

    Read more and see images at XO Jane | Shine Times

    Tuesday, February 04 2014 00:01

  21. 21/ Jeweler and Insurance Company Lose $70,000 Super Bowl Bet ... With a Little Help From Peyton Manning

    Jeff Dennis, though, is a happy man.

    Alabama jeweler Jeff Dennis has lost another Super Bowl bet, this time costing him/his insurance company some $70,000. Before the game, Dennis posted an announcement on his Facebook page that "Any purchase of jewelry, Gift Cards, or payments made on layaway or special orders will be REFUNDED if there is a Safety (the 2 point kind of safety: LOL) in tomorrow’s game between Denver and Seattle!” Some 400 qualifying customers didn’t have to wait long before learning that they could expect some $70,000 in refunds; a safety was called after the very first play. (You know who you are, Peyton Manning.) Dennis, who lost a similar bet in 2012, explained the his insurance company will issue checks within three weeks, after “bang(ing) head against the wall, throw(ing) hands up in the air and pull(ing) hair out.”

    Read more, see images and video at CBS Sports, Sporting News, Newark Star-Ledger

    Monday, February 03 2014 00:15

  22. 22/ Two of Five Alleged Cartier Thieves Captured (One Wearing a $75,000 Cartier)

    Why is this man smiling?

    Two of the five bandits who made off with more than $700,000 worth of watches in last week’s smash-and-grab at Cartier’s in Manhattan have been busted, according to police reports. Photos show one of them headed for booking with an oddly self-satisfied grin, his police escort looks, uh, perplexed. This same alleged perp was arrested wearing the skullcap he had on in the surveillance tape that got him arrested, plus a $75,000 Cartier watch. Three other suspects remain at large, but NYC police commissioner Bill Bratton says he expects to round them up. Bratton admitted to puzzlement over one aspect of the crime: “How the hell did they get away? I don’t think I can get a block up Fifth Ave. at any time of day without getting stopped for traffic at a red light. These guys made a clean getaway.”

    Read more and see images at NY Daily News

    Monday, February 03 2014 00:13

  23. 23/ Watchmakers Turn Attention to Female Customers

    Industry cracks the crystal ceiling.

    “In the race to outfit the wealthiest men with wearable status symbols,” some of the biggest Swiss watchmakers acknowledge that “Females have been overlooked by the $50 billion industry in recent decades,” says a report in Business Week. But companies from Audemars Piguet to Richard Mille are now targeting women. “For many, many years, the watch industry didn’t communicate with women, period,” says Francois-Henry Bennahmias of Audemars Piguet, who says he hopes to boost his brand’s percentage of sales to women to 35 percent from 25 percent in the next three years.

    Read more and see images at Business Week

    Monday, February 03 2014 00:10

  24. 24/ Teen To-Do List: Steal Lamborghini, Buy Uzi, Rob Jewelry Store

    “Sophisticated young man” kept a diary.

    A Northern California teenager convicted of stealing celebrity chef Guy Fieri’s Lamborghini two years ago planned to sell the car and rob a popular -- as yet unnamed -- San Francisco jewelry store, according to police. The kid kept a binder with the values of certain jewelry, along with names, titles and photographs of store employees, and details about alarms and cameras, the report said. He also specified what equipment might be needed in the apparent heist, including police uniforms, body armor, an Uzi firearm and a helicopter. “The defendant appeared to be a very sophisticated young man,” the report said. Yeah, well, he’s now in San Quentin.

    Read more at CBS News

    Monday, February 03 2014 00:08

  25. 25/ If Diamonds Are Evil, and Gold Is Useless, What’s a Jeweler to do?

    Think plywood.

    Jewelry mainstays are under attack from what might be called the media fringe, a term that these days covers a lot of ground. The student newspaper at the University of Texas/Austin reports on a fledgling enterprise called Diamonds Are Evil, which seeks to provide consumers with alternatives to the shiny stones. An environmental website, on the other hand, reviews a book on mining by Rapaport contributor Matthew Hart and concludes that “Gold is useless.” Fortunately, the Texas crowd offers an alternative that we’ll just bet you haven’t heard of: plywood jewelry. “Who would have thought to use plywood to make jewelry?” asks a Diamonds Are Evil customer. Who, indeed? But just a minute here, an online forum called – what else? – Wood Talk has a continuing thread called “Is plywood really evil?” Paper? Nuh-uh. That’s evil, too, according to yet another blog. And don’t even ask about plastic.

    Read more and see images at Daily Texan , OnEarth , Wood Talk, Vertical Response, Evil Plastic Report

    Monday, February 03 2014 00:05

  26. 26/ Are You Ready for Some Jewelry?

    1976 marks the beginning of serious Super Bowl bling.

    There will be a football game on Sunday, as perhaps you have heard, with a championship at stake, but on a more personal note the winning team gets some serious bling. A sports website takes a photographic look back at 47 years worth of championship and MVP rings, marking 1976 as the pivotal year when “bling began.” After that, notes the report, “Rings only get more and more lavish as the years pass.”

    Read more and see images at Bleacher Report

    Friday, January 31 2014 00:05

  27. 27/ Thieves Smash-and-Grab $700,000 at Cartier’s

    Five thieves attacked in broad daylight.

    Is nothing sacred? A gang of hammer-wielding thieves smashed their way through Cartier’s flagship store in Midtown Manhattan in broad daylight on Wednesday, making off with more than a dozen luxury watches. Five men entered the boutique, on Fifth Avenue at 52nd Street, at 12:30 p.m. and smashed open a glass display case, the police said. The thieves snapped up 16 watches worth a total of $700,000

    Read more at NY Times

    Friday, January 31 2014 00:04

  28. 28/ Ownership of $372 Million Emerald Still Undecided

    With one man’s claim dismissed, two more are next up.

    You wouldn’t expect it to be easy to determine ownership of an 840-pound emerald with an appraised value of $372 million, now would you? A California judge this week rejected as “not credible” the claim of businessman Anthony Thomas, who has maintained that he bought the stone from Brazilian miners for $60,000. Gem buyer Mark Downie and Ferrara Morrison Holdings both claim ownership and at least one more trial awaits. Called the Bahia Emerald, the thing is three feet tall, and contains about 180,000 carats, give or take.

    Read more at Edmonton Journal | Shine Times

    Friday, January 31 2014 00:03

  29. 29/ Just in Time for V-Day, Penney’s Hikes Jewelry Prices

    Move will allow for steep discounts.

    J.C. Penney is hiking engagement rings, pendants, studs and other jewelry as much as 60 percent to allow for deep promotional discounts at Valentine’s Day, according to reports. Chief Executive Mike Ullman “is trying to get back the old J.C. Penney customer, and that customer wants to see 50 and 60 percent off,” says Mark Cohen, a professor at Columbia Business School. “Taking off 20 or 30 percent doesn’t even get you noticed.”

    Read more at NY Daily News

    Friday, January 31 2014 00:02

  30. 30/ Jeweler Lets Allegedly Thieving Employee off the Hook for $700,000

    His estimate of what she took is well below the criminal complaint.

    A Duluth woman has pleaded not guilty to charges that she stole up to $800,000 worth of goods from Security Jewelers, the downtown jewelry store where she worked. The woman allegedly confessed to police that she began stealing to make ends meet, but eventually became “greedy and kept stealing.” The criminal complaint alleges that she stole and pawned off jewelry from the store over a two-year period. While the complaint places the total value of the stolen merchandise at nearly $800,000, store owner Jack Seiler has told reporters that he believes the amount to be closer to $100,000.

    Read more at Duluth News

    Friday, January 31 2014 00:01

  31. 31/ Media Go Shopping for a Six Pack of Rolexes

    Rich guy sparks investigative furor.

    President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address having been judged lacking in a single decent catch phrase, the media has gone, well, gaga over “a six-pack full of Rolexes.” The immortal words were initially spoken in passing by venture capitalist Thomas Perkins in a controversial Bloomberg interview about his allegations of Nazi-like cultural prejudice against the rich. “Anytime the majority starts to demonize the minority, no matter what it is, it’s wrong and dangerous and no good comes from it,” said Perkins, who crowed a bit about his own wealth, citing “an airplane that flies underwater” and a watch valuable as “a six-pack of Rolexes.” Several sources have identified the timepiece as a Richard Mille Tourbillon RM 002 ($325,000 at list, but available for as little as $259,675 online). An inquiring public needs to know.

    Read more, see images and video at Huffington Post | Wall Street Journal | Atlantic | Bloomberg | Business Week

    Thursday, January 30 2014 00:05

  32. 32/ Amazon Decides If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em

    Company plans checkout system for bricks-and-mortar retailers.

    Amazon plans to offer brick-and-mortar retailers a checkout system employing Kindle tablets as soon as this summer, according to a Wall Street Journal report. “The project would thrust Amazon, the largest U.S. e-commerce merchant, into the realm of physical retail stores, where more than 90 percent of commerce is still conducted, and open up a new trove of data from consumers' in-store spending habits,” says the Journal.

    Read more at Wall Street Journal

    Thursday, January 30 2014 00:04

  33. 33/ Brother-in-Law Charged in Shooting of LA Jeweler

    Suspect was already in jail on other charges.

    Los Angeles police says they have solved the mystery of who shot jeweler Amir Wolf in his driveway early this month – and they didn’t have to look any farther than his own family. Charges have been filed against David Nahman, Wolf’s brother-in-law, for the shooting, which took place in front of Wolf’s two young children. Nahman, arrested five days after the incident for an earlier offense of allegedly stealing jewelry from Wolf, is reported to have shot the jeweler to keep him from testifying against him in that case. Wolf survived the attack.

    Read more, see images and video at LA Daily News | NBC News | CBS News

    Thursday, January 30 2014 00:03

  34. 34/ De Beers Is Bullish on Diamond Sales in America

    Journalist questions whether company can remain pre-eminent.

    The world’s biggest diamond producer says there are positive indications of demand for the precious gems in its two biggest markets, the U.S. and China. “There are good signs coming from the U.S. economy,” says DeBeers CEO Philippe Mellier. Meanwhile, the journalist whose 1980 book on the company opened a few windows into how DeBeers got to be DeBeers, Edward Epstein has produced what he calls a “new diamond rant” in which he questions whether the company can retain its global pre-eminence.

    Read more, see images and video at Business Week | Huffington Post

    Thursday, January 30 2014 00:02

  35. 35/ What to Do if Your Customer Data Is Hacked

    Target incident provides lessons for smaller retailers.

    First, ‘fess up. A Forbes magazine writer says that the “colossal blunder” of Target’s handling of its huge data breach began with the chain’s failure to take responsibility. “Sure, some baby-faced teenager hacked in, but Target chose the system that let it happen,” says the writer. “Deflecting blame screams a lack of concern for the customer and an unbalanced concern for company image.” Recommended Steps 2 and 3: Clearly outline your plan t o correct the problem, and address customers’ outrage with “Gift card giveaways, extended terms, special order fee waivers, whatever it takes to remove some pain ….”

    Read more at Forbes

    Thursday, January 30 2014 00:01

  36. 36/ Jeweler Back at Work after Vicious Hatchet Attack

    Merchants and customers are helping with medical bills.

    They caught the guy who reacted to a declined credit card by turning the hammer end of a hatchet on 75-year-old California jeweler Carl Hamlin, fracturing his skull. Still better news: Hamlin is out of the hospital and back at work, crediting his quick recovery to “mule’s blood.” Neighboring shopkeepers are banding together to raise funds to help cover Hamlin’s hospital bills and medical expenses. Rachel Gaiser of nearby Hess Family Jewelry and Loan, among others, has distributed flyers in the area letting the community know about the “Helping Hamlin” fund established for the Hamlin’s Jewelers owner, who has been in business for 45 years. Gaiser says many customers have already donated to the fund, with many coming into her work to ask how they can help.

    Read more at NBC News, Shine Times

    Wednesday, January 29 2014 00:18

  37. 37/ Good Christmas or Bad Christmas? TMI Blurs the Retail Picture

    Sales results, like beauty, are in the eye of the beholder.

    With each new research report, the verdict on the holiday retail season just passed seems to flip from winning, to losing, back to winning, according to one observer. “The proliferation of reports, and the different metrics they use to assess the strength of holiday sales, made Christmas 2013 particularly hard to call.” A further complication: Many of the nation’s biggest retailers don’t report actual year-on-year sales. “Why would they do that?" asks retail consultant Howard Davidowitz. “No. 1, their stock could get killed" if the results are bad, and "No. 2, they could reveal something to their competitors.”

    Read more at Columbian

    Wednesday, January 29 2014 00:15

  38. 38/ Report Advises Caution with Popular Retirement Plans

    SIMPLE IRAs lock business owners into fixed contributions.

    Those SIMPLE IRA retirement plans popular with small-business owners may not be so simple after all. A review of retirement plans in USA Today suggests that Savings Incentive Match Plans for Employees Individual Retirement Accounts could backfire by locking the boss into fixed contributions during a bad year when money’s tight. A better bet might be profit-sharing plans and SEP-IRAs that give business owners whose profits fluctuate the flexibility to contribute or not to their plans, according to the report.

    Read more at USA Today

    Wednesday, January 29 2014 00:12

  39. 39/ Another Piece of Kennedy Memorabilia Comes Up for Auction

    Dior necklace is from First Lady’s personal collection.

    You have until Thursday to bid on a piece of costume jewelry from the private collection of iconic former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. The Dior necklace is six gradated strands of faux coral beads on a gold-plated square-link chain. Opening bids start at $5,000. If that seems steep for gold plate, keep in mind that a strand of 33 amber worry beads, with an estimated value of $200-$300, sold for $21,850 at Sotheby’s massive auction of Mrs. Onassis’s jewelry in 1996.

    Read more and see images at UK Daily Mail

    Wednesday, January 29 2014 00:10

  40. 40/ Retailers Waste Millions on Tech without Training

    It takes more than iPads to create a digital strategy.

    A Wall Street Journal blogger cites a recent shopping experience at Sears as evidence that retailers are failing to train their employees on how to use pricey technology they provide. “Retailers have taken the better part of a decade to decode the intricacies of e-commerce, but successful implementations of technology in brick-and-mortar stores seems as elusive as ever,” says the report. The blogger tells of a sales associate who confessed, “Our manager wants us to use this iPad stuff, but we’re all over 50 and we’re not familiar with the technology.”

    Read more at Wall Street Journal

    Wednesday, January 29 2014 00:08

  41. 41/ $44 Billion in Gift Cards Go Un-redeemed in the U.S.

    What would happen if all were actually redeemed?

    Somewhere out there is a $44 billion chunk of change that retailers could be adding to their revenues – if only consumers who have received gift cards would finally cash them in. An analyst has come up with this startling figure, just short of one-third of the total amount spent on gift cards in the U.S, during the last holiday season. Looking at the numbers in another way, of course, this means that retailers are holding liabilities of $44 billion. If they were all cashed in at once . . . well, no problem there. Most consumers don’t even know they’re holding onto them. “People get these cards and often put them away in a drawer and then forget about them,” says one retail source.

    Read more at NY Post

    Tuesday, January 28 2014 00:18

  42. 42/ No Fingers? No Problem. Jewelry Designer Overcomes the Odds

    Her finely wrought pieces sell for thousands.

    Annette Gabbedey has worked as a fine jewelry designer and goldsmith in the U.K. for more than 20 year, creating delicate pieces that can cost thousands of dollars. “Obviously making jewelry is very tactile and something you do with your hands,” she acknowledges, but Gabbedey has never been hampered by the fact that she was born without fingers. “I do find that people usually do have that question of 'How do you manage to create jewelry?' let alone the day-to-day things as well,” she says. “And my answer to that really is that I tend to really look at people who have fingers and think, ‘Well, how can you manage with fingers, because they must get in the way.’"

    Read more and see images at Glamour, Annette Gabbedey

    Tuesday, January 28 2014 00:13

  43. 43/ Blue Nile and Etsy Rank Low on Password Security

    Both score less than zero.

    With credit-card fraud rather spectacularly on the rise, a new survey warns that many of the biggest e-commerce retailers remain casual about password policy. “The danger with a weak password policy is that it leaves users’ personal data vulnerable, reports Dashlane. “The weaker the password, the easier it is for hackers to break into an account. Therefore, sites with lenient password policies are leaving their users exposed to greater risk.” Among the riskiest, according to the survey: Etsy (a score of -25) and Blue Nile (-45). Apple got the only perfect score.

    Read more at Gizmodo, Dashlane

    Tuesday, January 28 2014 00:10

  44. 44/ Gemvara Founder Lauded for Entrepreneurial Spirit

    Company’s turn-around shows essential flexibility.

    Flexibility is one of the five qualities most essential for successful entrepreneurship, according to Fox News, which highlights Gemvara founder Matt Lauzon as a guy who’s got it. While still a college student, Lauzon launched a custom jewelry design platform for retailers in 2008. "In theory, it was a perfect match, but in practice we found that we simply couldn't change the jewelers' focus on selling the expensive inventory they had sitting in their display cases," Lauzon recalls. One jewelry customer told him, “You have built something so amazing, with so much potential, you should let people use it directly." Which is what Lauzon did. With additional rounds of financing -- $51 million to date -- he re-launched the Boston-based company to sell directly to consumers. The privately held company does not release sales figures, but as he has been hiring executive talent away from Tiffany’s, we’re guessing he’s doing just fine.

    Read more at Fox News, Gemvara

    Tuesday, January 28 2014 00:08

  45. 45/ Call It Jewelry Porn: Gems to Drool Over

    Parisian designers preparing for their big September show.

    A fashion website sent a reporter out to case the flashy offerings coming from some of swellest swells in Paris, and what she came back with is enough to make the strongest retailer weep. It’s hard to pick the most sensational of the pieces in the works from the celebrated jewelers represented, but our money – such as it is -- is on Bulgari’s 116-carat “Diva” necklace of moghul-cut rubellites, diamonds, amethysts, and mandarin garnets. This is a statement necklace with one message loud and clear: “Rich.”

    Read more and see images at Style.com

    Tuesday, January 28 2014 00:05

  46. 46/ Cocktail Rings Win Big at the Grammy’s

    Beyonce’s bling set the trend.

    The Grammy Awards famously being the place where Carrie Underwood wore a $31 million Johnathon Arndt diamond necklace, the bling-spotters were out in force last night in LA. Nothing like Carrie’s necklace showed up, sadly, but Beyonce sported $10 million worth of Lorraine Schwartz diamonds, including a handful of cocktail rings that were pronounced the trend of the evening. Whoever provided jewelry to singer Ariana Grande probably won’t be doing it again. Asked who designed her earrings and whatnot, the 20-year-old replied, “I should know what designer it is but I don't really pay attention to that at all." That’s OK, Ariana; we don’t know who you are, either.

    Read more and see images at Hollywood Reporter, E!

    Monday, January 27 2014 00:23

  47. 47/ Third Retailer Reports Possible Data Breach

    Feds are helping arts-and-crafts chain to investigate.

    Michaels Stores, a 1,300-outlet arts-and crafts chain, is the third large U.S. retailer to report possible fraudulent activity involving credit and debit cards. Michaels, which booked $3 billion in sales in the nine months ended Nov. 2, says it is not yet certain that a data-breach occurred, but has warned customers on its website to watch for suspicious card activity.

    Like Target and Neiman Marcus before them, Michaels made its discovery following inquiries from security researcher and blogger Brian Krebs. Three years ago, Michael's said thieves had tampered with debit-card processing equipment at roughly 80 stores. The company said at the time it uncovered improperly altered PIN pads that allowed the thieves to skim debit card data and steal personal identification numbers that were then used to create duplicate cards. Shoppers at a Michael’s store in Pennsylvania over the weekend said they were aware of the recent rash of retail hackings. . “I’ll definitely be paying cash today and I’ll be thinking twice before I use my debit card at a lot of stores,” said one.

    Read more at Wall Street Journal, WNEP News, Michaels.com

    Monday, January 27 2014 00:18

  48. 48/ Chanel Goes Back to Basics with Pearl Jewelry Line

    Offerings include a $3.5 million diamond-and-pearl necklace.

    As essential a part of Coco Chanel’s persona as the little black dress and her No. 5 perfume, pearls are back big time at the house of Chanel, with a new 87-item line that ranges from chunky baroque to tiny freshwater varieties. “For Chanel, pearls represent a kind of hidden luxury because they’re highly personal,” said Benjamin Comar, international director of Chanel Fine Jewelry. “And above all, they are very easy to wear, because they’re supple, they’re sensual, so they really match the evolution of women’s lifestyles.” One necklace from the collection mixes 47 South Sea cultured pearls with an 8=carat diamond. Price: $3.5 million.

    Read more and see images at Women’s Wear Daily

    Monday, January 27 2014 00:10

  49. 49/ Retail Space May Drop by Half Over the Next Decade

    Chain closings prompt predictions.

    With Macy’s and Penney’s planning multiple store closings this year, and Sears announcing the closing of its iconic flagship Chicago store, at least one observer is predicting a massive decline in retail space in the U.S. through the end of this decade. Shoppers will likely see an average decrease in overall retail square footage of between one-third and one-half within the next five to 10 years, as a shift to e-commerce brings with it fewer mall visits and a lesser need to keep inventory stocked in-store, says Michael Burden, a principal with Excess Space Retail Services. "I believe we're going to hear a lot more announcements in the coming months," Burden says. It's "an indication that there is a shift in the retail environment and it's one that will continue."

    Read more at NBC News

    Monday, January 27 2014 00:08

  50. 50/ Reactions to Baby Teeth Jewelry Range from “Awwww” to “Ewwww”

    Wearers have a choice of metal replicas or the real thing.

    Yet another new jewelry trend has caught the attention of the media: Necklaces and bracelets fashioned from baby teeth, either the real thing or molded replicas in silver and gold. “Baby teeth are about to become all the rage when it comes to preserving your child's precious moments,” reports ABC News. Well, maybe. One designer working in teeth acknowledges that "You are either repulsed by it or love it," and a lot of those commenting on the ABC website fall into the former category. “Some mothers are just plain wacko,” says one. Parade magazine concluded its own “baby teeth are the next big trend” article with a reader poll in which just shy of 79 percent of respondents dismissed the idea as “weird.”

    Read more and see images at ABC News, Parade

    Monday, January 27 2014 00:05