Montana Retailer Buys Sapphire Mine
Bozeman, MT—In the 1980s, Yogo sapphires from Montana were big news in the jewelry industry. But despite the stones’ natural high quality—though unheated, Yogo stones typically display well-saturated uniform color, few inclusions or zonation, and high shine—they fell into relative obscurity by the early 21st century.
Recently, however, there has been a resurgence of interest in Montana sapphires, such as the Americut Gems Rock Creek sapphire from the new Potentate mine in Granite County, MT. The resurgence coincides with growing demand for gold and gems that are ethically sourced and conflict free, American-made goods in general, and luxury goods with a compelling story to tell. Now, Don Baide, owner of The Gem Gallery, a retail jeweler in Bozeman, has purchased the Vortex mine near Lewistown, MT. Baide was good friends with the mine’s former owner, Mike Roberts, who was killed in an accident. Roberts had urged him for years to buy the mine, and plans were underway when Roberts died and the project was shelved. Baide, whose retail business focused on Yogos, now has purchased all rights, claims, and equipment for the Vortex Mine from Roberts’ widow. He will work on the mining side and his son, Jason, will run the store. The two hope to be able to wholesale the stones as well as design and sell their own Yogo jewelry.
Engagement ring featuring a Yogo sapphire center, from The Gem Gallery. Yogo sapphires, though typically small, are prized for their purity of color and clarity.
Montana has four major sapphire producing areas; blue Yogo sapphire comes from the central region of the state—predominantly Fergus and Judith Basin counties—while fancy sapphires such as the Rock Creek stones come from the western half.
The Yogo Gulch area is in central Montana, in Judith Basin and Fergus Counties, while fancy sapphires are found to the west in Granite County.
Dead Malls? Not So Fast!
Garden City, NY—Not everything is all online, all the time. More and more, consumers are coming back into retail stores to touch and feel, especially when it comes to big-ticket items like diamonds and furniture.
A news report on New York’s CBS2 points to a few formerly pure-play e-tail operations—including Blue Nile—that are opening physical stores in Roosevelt Field, a Simon Mall in Garden City, Long Island, just outside New York City. The Roosevelt Field location is one of five Blue Nile stores in the United States; another suburban New York City store is in White Plains, NY, and there is one each in Tysons Corner, VA; Bellevue, WA; and Portland, OR.
“We went online but I need to see how it feels, how it fits,” says one woman who was trying on diamonds at Blue Nile with her fiancé. Likewise, consumers want to touch and feel and sit on a couch before they commit to buying it, which is why online midcentury furniture retailer France & Son also opened at Roosevelt Field. Consumers also say a retailer’s physical presence lends more confidence in the company standing behind what they sell, and retailers say face-to-face feedback from consumers is much better than virtual feedback at helping them refine their brand.
Vahan Launches Minimalist Nuvo Collection
New York, NY—Greg Der Calousdian, Vahan vice president of design, has created Nuvo, a more clean, minimalistic look to join the company’s signature 14k gold floral beaded petal design. “Vahan has had tremendous success with our ornate petal design. With Nuvo, I felt it was time to appeal to a wider clientele. Nuvo features a sleeker alternative which is more tailored and contemporary,” he said.
Pieces from Vahan's Nuvo collection.
The new design element is on rings, bracelets and earrings, and can be seen in the Buckle, Le Cercle, Cross, Diamond Line, Halo, and Pavé Bangle collections, with more collections soon to be added.
The new design still makes use of Vahan’s signature two-tone gold and silver metals. Nuvo also stays true to its classic look with precious and semi-precious gems including diamonds, blue topaz, London blue topaz, rhodolite, garnet, black onyx, peridot, chrome diopside, and citrine. Nuvo is available beginning in August 2017 and starts at $1,000. The line will be available at various retailers throughout the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean.