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10 Things Rocking the Industry: July–August 2012

Posted on 2012-11-05, By A-Best Staff
10 Things Rocking the Industry: July–August 2012A. Link displayed items from its Phantom Collection, such as this 18k gold and diamond ring, at JCK’s Prestige Promenade.1. Las Vegas

As hordes of retailers descended on the Mandalay Bay Convention Center for the start of JCK Las Vegas June 1, a gloomy jobs report sent the Dow Jones industrial average on a 275-point nosedive. But business at jewelry market week didn’t go down the tubes with it. Indeed, with European debt woes and talk of a Far East slowdown ­clouding the global economic outlook, America has emerged as a beacon of stability—a conclusion borne out among high-profile exhibitors with recognizable names and luxury clients. Smaller firms, meanwhile, reported mixed results in Vegas, as did those who failed to book advance appointments (but that’s an old story). The upshot of JCK’s second year at its new digs? “Demand at the upper end is okay, and that’s what you saw at the show,” says Russell Shor, senior industry analyst at the Gemological Institute of America. “But the middle class is still feeling pinched.”

2. Billionaires

Dave Weaver/Borsheims
Buffett charms a Borsheims buyer.

Sure, he had some advantages; not every jewelry salesman is an internationally famous billionaire. Yet Borsheims execs have only praise for Berkshire Hathaway chairman Warren Buffett’s second stint behind the counter on May 6 at the annual Berkshire shareholders’ meeting. “One woman was so excited to be standing next to him, she burst into tears,” says Adrienne Fay, director of marketing for the Berkshire-owned Omaha, Neb.–based ­Borsheims. Another attendee told his girlfriend he would propose to her if Buffett would sell her an engagement ring. (The two are now engaged.) Fay attributes Buffett’s success to two factors: “He is full of integrity—he is a very credible man. He is also very down-to-earth.… He is one of the richest men in the world, yet he will sit and talk to anyone.”

3. Beads

Pandora oxidized sterling silver bracelet with silver and Blue Python Murano glass charms

Pandora and Chamilia are widely considered the two leading charm brands, but you can’t really call them beads of a feather; in fact, they fought a legal war for more than a decade. Now, after a three-year respite, the bitter bead battle may be back on: In a May 5 suit, Pandora alleged that Chamilia violated the terms of a 2009 settlement agreement. According to legal papers, Chamilia assented to make certain items solely under its name; however, in 2011, the company introduced those products co-branded with Swarovski. In response, Chamilia claimed the agreement doesn’t cover co-brands. Yet the most intriguing aspect of the lawsuit might be this revelation: Swarovski purchased a minority interest in Chamilia in July 2011.

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