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Retail News: Borsheims’ Embraces Lab-Grown Diamonds; Sterling Settles EEOC Suit May 10, 2017 (0 comments)

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Lab-Grown Diamonds Among The Exclusives Borsheims Offers Berkshire Hathaway Shareholders

Omaha, NE--For Borsheims, the first weekend in May is as busy as Christmas. That’s when thousands of Berkshire Hathaway shareholders descend upon Omaha—and the jewelry store—as part of the Berkshire Hathaway corporation’s annual shareholder weekend. (Berkshire Hathaway also owns the Ben Bridge and Helzberg jewelry chains and Richline, the jewelry manufacturing conglomerate of brands.)

Every year for the shareholders' weekend, Borsheims offers some exclusive products specially created for the event. This year, the special diamond offerings included diamonds for a good cause (to help build a well in an African village), and diamonds featuring the signature of Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett (a perennial favorite offered annually) and lab-grown diamonds.

Borsheims partnered with Leo Schachter to exclusively offer Kalahari Dream Diamonds, where each diamond sold benefits communities in the Kalahari Desert in South Africa, Namibia, and Botswana. The diamonds are ethically mined and responsibly prepared by exacting artisans, and available only at Borsheims. Customers can choose between loose diamonds, pendants, earrings, and rings in the Kalahari Dream Diamond collection. The collection is ongoing but during Berkshire Hathaway shareholders weekend, the sale of each Kalahari Dream diamond will go toward building a well in a Botswana village that does not have regular access to water.

Another one-of-a-kind option for diamond lovers at Borsheims is a limited edition of Warren Buffett-signed diamonds. Each year since 2014, Borsheims has offered shareholders a small collection of loose diamonds inscribed with Mr. Buffett’s signature. The diamonds, part of Borsheims’ Signature Diamond collection, are mined and polished in Canada.

The Buffett-signed diamonds have been extremely popular with shareholders since Borsheims first started offering them in 2014. Borsheims brings in a very limited supply of loose diamonds featuring his signature, and shareholders who purchase them can have them set in a ring, stud earrings, or a pendant necklace. Some shareholders keep the stones loose and return year after year to purchase additional signed diamonds to add to their collection. The signature is engraved inside the diamond, and requires a jeweler’s loupe to view.

This year, each Warren Buffett signed diamond comes with a Sarine Digital Experience, allowing the customer to use their phone to scan the QR code and view and loupe the diamond and Warren Buffett’s signature on their phone.

In addition to the Buffet-signed diamonds, Borsheims’ offered two other signed souvenirs: a special-edition Montblanc pen emblazoned with the business titan’s signature, and a strand of pearls (top of page) with his signature on the diamond-encrusted clasp (closeup, below left). The pearl program was created exclusively for Borsheims by Tara Pearls, and designs were available in either white (top of page) or multicolored strands (below right). The pearls were new this year, and several strands—both white and multicolored—sold during the event. 

Borsheims has offered a $15 ballpoint pen featuring Mr. Buffett’s signature (below right) for a few years, but the Mont Blanc rollerball (below left) was new. Priced at $246, all had sold by the end of Friday night’s shareholder-only cocktail party at Borsheims, but the pen is still available for special order online at Borsheims.com.

Lastly, for customers concerned about the environmental impact of diamond mining, Borsheims is among the first independent jewelry stores in the world to offer lab-grown diamonds and lab-grown diamond jewelry. Lab-grown diamonds, chemically and optically identical to mined diamonds, are grown using a process similar to what happens in nature but with higher heat and pressure to speed up the growth. They are priced approximately 30% less than a [comparable] diamond formed in the earth. 

Borsheims’ president and CEO Karen Goracke says, “Borsheims has always been known for its huge selection of jewelry and our attention to our customers’ desires, and these diamond options are another step in that direction. We are embracing shareholders and customers who are increasingly socially and environmentally conscious and who want the latest technology in every aspect of their lives.”

Goracke called the 2017 Berkshire Hathaway shareholders weekend another great success. “We love being able to host shareholders from all over the world during this weekend, and we know they love all things Warren Buffett. We were not surprised they were buying up all things ‘Warren’ and finding lots of tangible ways by which to remember their trip.”

Borsheims’ shareholder pricing continues through this Saturday, May 13.

 

Sterling Settles EEOC Gender-Bias Case

Akron, OH—A nine-year-long battle between the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and Sterling Jewelers (parent of Kay, Jared, Zales, and other store marquees) over whether or not the jeweler paid and promoted its female employees at lower rates than male employees has been settled.

The settlement, which does not include a monetary award, carries multiple stipulations that must be met by the jeweler and does not address the ongoing class-action gender-discrimination arbitration against the jeweler or the recent allegations of sexual harassment that went viral both in and outside the trade in February. Jeffrey Burstein, regional attorney for the New York district of EEOC where the suit was filed in Buffalo, NY, believes monetary damages will be adequately litigated in the class-action arbitration.

Read more here and here.

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