In Memoriam: Mark Vuono, Connecticut Jeweler Killed In Robbery
Stamford, CT—Mark Vuono (left), 69, the owner of Marco Jewelers, was shot and killed during a robbery in his store. A customer entering the store on Saturday afternoon called police after finding Vuono had been shot and the store robbed.
Marco Jewelers is a 46-year-old full-line jewelry store offering diamonds, jewelry, watches, and sterling silver and crystal giftware, as well as appraisals, coins, and precious metal buying.
This is the first homicide of a jeweler in the U.S. since January 10, 2018, says the Jewelers’ Security Alliance. At press time, no suspects had been apprehended; anyone with information is asked to call Stamford, CT Police at (203) 977-4417.
Vuono was described by customers and friends as a kind, gentle professional with “a lovely way about him.” Flowers and tributes were placed outside his store after the news of his death broke in the community.
Vuono is survived by his wife and son.
Separately, jewelers may be wondering how to address the question of face masks, especially as the CDC is now weighing a recommendation for all people to wear face coverings outside of home. Should those jewelers who are still open worry about criminals using surgical masks to conceal their identity? Should they request all customers to either move their mask or show ID to prove they’re legitimate?
Not necessary, says John Kennedy, president of the Jewelers’ Security Alliance.
“If a criminal wishes to conceal his or her identity, they will wear more than a surgical mask, which does not sufficiently conceal one's identity. They will also use a hat and/or sunglasses,” he says, adding that asking a customer to remove a surgical mask seems a good way to lose a sale.
“If a person looks like they are concealing their identity with additional covering, such as hat and sunglasses, a jeweler might want to turn them away.”
There was a robbery case in Greenwich, CT about 10 days ago, in which the perpetrator wore a surgical mask with a hat.
2020 Couture Show Is Canceled
New York, NY—Couture, the upscale jewelry show held annually at the Wynn in Las Vegas, has been canceled for 2020. Emerald Expositions, show organizer, made the announcement on its website Tuesday. Also canceled are the AGTA GemFair Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Antique Jewelry & Watch Show, together marketed as “The Collective.”
Reed Exhibitions previously announced that the JCK Las Vegas shows would be postponed from their original June dates but at press time had not announced new dates.
VDB Creates Virtual Expo App For Industry
New York, NY—Virtual Diamond Boutique (VDB) is stepping up to fill the void left by the cancellation of all the spring jewelry shows in light of the COVID-19 crisis. The software company and online trading network has created a Virtual Expo app to be used by the jewelry industry that can be used to replace trade shows during this time of social isolation, and to supplement trade shows once commerce returns to normal.
The intuitive, easy-to-use app serves as a digital convention center. Tradeshow organizers can use the app or website to offer online trade events, and exhibitors can show their products to a worldwide digital audience of industry buyers.
Going on now using the platform is the first ever Online Diamond Trade Show, organized jointly by the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) and Israeli Diamond Institute (IDI). The online event opened March 30 and runs through April 4. For more information on how to register for this event or to learn more about VDB Expo, contact email@example.com.
“AWDC and IDI decided to join forces and organize a unique event that enables you to buy and sell diamonds from the comfort of your own office, as an alternative to all the events that have been canceled so far this year due to the coronavirus/Covid-19,” said a statement from AWDC.
“We are always looking for ways to support our industry, and are grateful to be able to do whatever we can to connect during these challenging times,” says Tanya Nisguretsky, CEO of Virtual Diamond Boutique. “This Virtual Expo App is the first of its kind, and we’ll continue to build enhancements into it for the future.”
VDB has developed customizations and features for many industry organizations, including RJO, CBG, NCDIA, and JFC. David Rocha, executive director of Jewelers for Children, said, the VDB is enabling the organization to continue its silent auction activity for events that have either been canceled or postponed.
“We can run them well beyond the few days we would have at an onsite event and keep folks engaged in Jewelers for Children and raise some money for children in need. This would not have been possible without the support of Virtual Diamond Boutique and their donating of this fully functional, easy to use app. I can’t thank you enough for this,” he says.
The VDB Virtual Expo app is available to any organization, large or small, that wants to host an online event. Company executives will monitor user activity and feedback closely in order to quickly respond to emerging digital commerce needs in the mid-channel.
Diamonds Do Good Jewelry Awards Submission Date Now June 30
New York, NY—In response to the coronavirus emergency, the first annual Diamonds Do Good Jewelry Awards has pushed its entry deadline back to June 30.
The awards, sponsored by Diamonds Do Good in partnership with JCK, recognize members of the jewelry industry who’ve made charitable giving an important component of their business strategy. Now more than ever, this spirit of giving is critical to both the industry and society. Diamonds Do Good, formerly known as Diamond Empowerment Fund, will share submissions on its consumer facing platform, DiamondsDoGood.com, and associated social media channels.
“We believe the sharing of these stories and encouragement of more submissions will inspire jewelers and consumers during this unparalleled time,” says Anna Martin, president of Diamonds Do Good and senior vice president of GIA.
Although the JCK Show has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the competition will continue. Inspired by the submissions received to date, JCK editor-in-chief Victoria Gomelsky observed, “Philanthropy has never been more important as it is during a time of crisis and these submissions exemplify the very best in our trade.”
The contest is open to manufacturers and/or retailers of fine jewelry (defined as featuring precious metals and/or natural diamonds and gemstones) until June 30. Contest winners, as judged by the JCK editorial team, will be featured in JCK magazine.
For submissions and more information go to jcklasvegas2020.com/diamondsdogood.
Plumb Club Will Share Stories Of Kindness; Winners Receive Donation To Charity Of Choice
New York, NY—In noticing how many suppliers and retailers have posted social media stories of generosity and creativity in a time of crisis, The Plumb Club would like to highlight those in the jewelry industry who are doing what they can to help.
From now until April 15, both retailers and suppliers are invited to submit their stories to The Plumb Club to be shared in its social media accounts and/or in a blog post. If possible, please include photos that can be posted along with it. Include a contact name and email or telephone number for the Plumb Club to contact you if necessary.
The Plumb Club will pick up to 20 stories to feature. If your story is one of those that’s shared, the Club will donate $100 in your company's name, to the charity of your choice. The charity can be local or national, as long as it is focused on helping with the current situation we all find ourselves in.
Forward all stories to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than April 15, 2020, then follow The Plumb Club on Facebook and Instagram to read the stories that were chosen.
The Plumb Club hosted a special planetarium exhibit at its pavilion in Las Vegas last year.
De Beers Cancels Third Cycle Sight
Gaborone, Botswana—Due to public health restrictions in Botswana, South Africa, and India, prohibiting customers from traveling and preventing the shipment of goods to customers’ international operations, De Beers Group will not hold its third Sight of 2020.
Sightholders are enabled to defer 100% of their Sight 3 allocations to later in the year, and De Beers pledges to continue to seek innovative ways to meet Sightholders’ rough diamond supply needs in the coming weeks.
Diamond-Infused Face Masks May Kill Coronavirus
Hong Kong—The use of diamonds in health science is not new, but IDEX Online reports researchers in Hong Kong believe they may be a valuable weapon against the coronavirus. The researchers say that a coating of salt crystals and nano-diamonds on face masks may actually destroy viruses, rather than just filtering them. The diamonds in question are industrial grade microparticles, not gem-quality stones. But the nano diamonds also can be treated in different layers to destroy all spectrum of viruses.