Annual Gold Conference To Address Sustainability, More
New York, NY—Gold: Legacy, Leadership, Luminescence, the Ninth Annual International Gold Conference hosted by Initiatives in Art & Culture, will be held April 4-5 at Bohemian National Hall in New York City. (Left, a selection of diamond rings from retailer and conference participant Catbird.)
This year’s event will focus on continuing the conversation on sustainability, jewelry, and responsible practice that highlighted prior events.
Cross-disciplinary conversation outside conventional industry discourse will help attendees seize the current marketplace’s demand for responsibly produced goods. It’s critical for retailers and others in the jewelry supply chain to champion authenticity, artisan craft and materials, and be not just informed but also proactive about ethical sourcing and responsible practice, as today’s mindful consumers increasingly demand transparency, sustainability and responsibility to the planet.
Among the many speakers on tap for the two-day event are Mark Hanna, chief marketing officer of the Richline Group division of Berkshire Hathaway; Lara Koritzke, Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA); Elizabeth Orlando, economic officer, Bureau of Economic Affairs, Office of Threat Finance and Countermeasures, US Department of State; Andrea Hill, founder and CEO, Hill Management Group, LLC; jewelry designers Stephen Webster and Mimi So; and retailers Rony Vardi, owner, and Alisha Blechman, head of studio operations, for Brooklyn, NY-based boutique jeweler Catbird. Flourish and Thrive Academy’s Tracy Matthews also will discuss how jewelry designers can stand out and find their voice and aesthetic in a saturated landscape.
Centurion Newsletter readers can get a discount off the ticket price. Register online here and use promo code CENTURION for $200 ticket (in lieu of $350).
Stephen Webster’s Dynamite Shattered bracelet and earrings in 18k yellow gold with tapered baguette and trilliant cut white diamonds. The renowned London-based designer will be a keynote speaker, discussing how gold has shaped his career as a globally-recognized designer.
JBT Holds Annual Election
Warwick, RI—The Jewelers Board of Trade announces the following officers and directors were elected to its board. Elected to serve a one-year term were:
Newly elected to the board for a two-year term was Matthijs Braakman, CEO, Retail Management Publishing, Inc., Montclair, NJ.
Re-elected for two year terms were:
Continuing to serve their existing terms are:
Advisory Board members continuing to serve their existing term are Phyllis Bergman, Phyllis Bergman Co., New York, NY; and Richard Greenwood, A. F. Greenwood Co., Inc., New York, NY.
Lab-Grown Diamonds Added To VDB App
New York, NY—Virtual Diamond Boutique (VDB), the sourcing and trading app for the jewelry industry, has added lab-grown diamonds as a new category. The lab-grown products will be segregated from mined diamonds, but the section will offer all the same platform features for users to search, buy, hold, and obtain memo.
“This may be viewed as a controversial move by some in the jewelry industry,” said Tanya Nisguretsky, VDB president. “But we didn’t do it to be controversial. We made the decision to offer lab-grown because many retailers are offering this product category to an increasingly interested consumer. We want to help our customer base make thoughtful, informed decisions about the products they offer.”
When users open the app, they will now see four categories: diamonds, color gemstones, finished jewelry, and lab-grown. To date, 11 lab-grown suppliers have signed up with VDB, and more than 4,800 lab-grown stones are available on the app. More lab-grown brands are expected over the next few weeks.
“We thought it was important to separate lab-grown in the app, similar to the way retailers should be careful to segregate their lab and mined diamond inventories in the store,” continued Nisguretsky. “This is an important discipline all jewelry businesses carrying both lab and mined should follow, and we decided to emulate that best business practice in the digital environment as well.”
To address the higher rejection rate on receipt of lab-grown diamonds compared to mined, the VDB app offers mobile-first technology, high quality images and 360-degree views to make the visual aesthetics clear before the expense and time of shipping is incurred.
Neiman Marcus Gets A Lifeline
Dallas, TX—With almost $5 billion in debt, Neiman Marcus Group was Bankrate.com’s list of stores that might not survive 2019. But National Jeweler reported on Tuesday that creditors are throwing the retailer a lifeline, giving the company a few more years to pay off its mounting debts.
More than 55% of its lenders and 60% of its unsecured noteholders have agreed to extend payoff dates, giving the retailer until 2023 to pay its term loans and until 2024 for the unsecured notes, the latter of which would be paid via a debt exchange, which the company expects to begin in April.
Term loan holders who agree to the arrangement will receive a higher interest rate than those who don’t.
A recent company presentation noted that 26% of its revenue stems from the top 3% of customers and touted its potential for international expansion, reports NJ. Domestically, it just opened a new store in New York City’s Hudson Yards.
Since the start of the year, some of the retailers named to Bankrate’s endangered list have already shuttered: Toys R Us, PayLess Shoes, and Henri Bendel. Bankrate is watching Sears, Claire’s, Barnes & Noble, Party City, Mattress Firm, Macy’s, and JCPenney, though both department stores insist their winnowing out of locations is a planned strategic move and not a danger sign.
Other retailers that have shuttered since the start of the year include Charlotte Russe and Gymboree, says CNBC. Its list of potentially endangered retailers includes Dollar Tree’s Family Dollar division, Gap, Victoria’s Secret, Chico’s, Tesla, and Abercrombie & Fitch. It also named JCPenney.
Silver Institute Reception Planned
New York, NY—The Silver Institute will host a cocktail reception on April 10, the evening prior to the launch of the 2019 World Silver Survey. The event also will celebrate LOOT 2019: Mad About Jewelry, an exhibition and sale of contemporary jewelry created by more than 50 of the world’s most innovative jewelry designers. Both the exhibition and the Silver Institute reception will be held at the Museum of Arts And Design, 2 Columbus Circle in New York City. The reception runs from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. To attend, please RSVP to Deborah Washington (202) 495‐4030 firstname.lastname@example.org .
The Futurist’s Paola De Luca To Interview Celebrity Jeweler Farah Khan At April 3 Book Launch
New York, NY—Paola De Luca, founder of The Futurist, a luxury creative intelligence agency, will stage conversations with celebrity jewellery designer Farah Khan to celebrate the launch of her new book FARAH KHAN: A Bejewelled Life. Khan will begin her launch tour in New York City and Mumbai, with plans for London and Hong Kong later in the year.
Khan’s book, published by Rizzoli International and edited by De Luca and her team at The Futurist, charts the life and inspiration of Farah Khan as a leading Indian jewellery designer with family connections to Bollywood.
The New York City launch will be April 3 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Rizzoli bookstore, 1133 Broadway (at 26th St.), followed by the Mumbai launch at Mehboob Studios in Bandra (W) on April 16.
“I am looking forward to our conversations which I am sure will give a fabulous insight into the unique talent that is Farah Khan. India, led by design pioneers such as Khan, is now reclaiming its global stature in luxury jewellery design,” said De Luca.