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    What it is: Rocksbox is a $21 per month subscription-based jewelry rental service with free shipping both ways.
    What your recipient needs to do: She creates an online profile to redeem the gift card you sent. Then, she adds jewelry pieces to her Wish List from which a stylist learns her taste. She simply sends the box back in the same packaging with a pre-paid return shipping label. According to the company website, she can exchange her box as often as she wants, even every week, with no extra cost.
    A Rocksbox gift card means no more guesswork for you. She can also keep any of the pieces she loves at a discounted price. Rocksbox provides $21 'Shine credit' every month to be used toward the in-box purchases.

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  • 05/05/17--22:41: Making of high end jewelry
  • These are not just ordinary necklaces. They are more than you can imagine. They are beautiful, right? Imagine what they have been made of? Paper! Magazine paper, toilet paper. It’s paper jewelry!

    The brains behind this creative initiative is Julita Gorgeous, a Cameroonian fashion designer with a passion for beauty for all the sexes. She lives in Pointe-Noire, in the Republic of Congo.

    Her creations have been inspired by the shortage of precious gems that require conventional initiatives in the making of high-end jewelry.

    But what does she require to make the pieces?

    “All the things you are seeing here are objects that you have the habit of throwing. I collect them and work with them. For my jewelry, I collected newspapers, magazines, whether used or not…it doesn’t matter, it depends on what I want to obtain.”

    In addition to paper, Julita uses a few more ingredients like acrylic paint and a few more secret ingredients. The recipe seems to work since her jewelry collection has indeed appealed the public eye.

    Julita invited me to the very first launch of her signature “Mind Nature” jewelry collection, a fashion event that brought together fashion lovers and I must say they are thrilled.

    It all started with an idea and after this fashion show, Julita is optimistic about the future with her jewelry collection. She says the positive remarks and encouragement from the public have greatly motivated her to forge ahead in the protection of the environment.

    At the moment, she works alone but she hopes to get more support in order to encourage such kind of vocations to the younger generation.

    But did the event turn out to her expectation?

    This is what she says:

    “I think the event has been successful. A lot of people were impressed with the jewelry, a lot of people wanted to know how they were made and how the idea came about. I think that the message has been passed.”

    Her clients are also full of praise for her creative innovation.

    “I found the jewelry to be great, creative because they’ve been made from recycled materials. When I see the beauty of what they recycled, I’m very touched, “said one client.

    “It’s a discovery for us who are here in Congo and…frankly it was top of the game,” said an expatriate who works in the country.

    So there you have it. Paper jewelry is soon going to be the latest fashion trend. At least I got mine just in time.

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    When the industrial revolution took place in the mid -19th century, a wealthy middle class emerged. These Victorian-aged bosses of industry, professionals, hard-working merchants and those educated aristocrats all had to keep up a front and, in turn, had a hand in establishing the status-setting fashion of the day.

    The Victorian gentleman wore black - black suits, overcoats, gaiters and hats. White vests were reserved for evenings or formal wear. To offset this sombre colour, he acquired a collection of elaborate accessories. Probably the best known is the watch or vest chain.

    The earlier chains were heavy as they consisted of two long chains fastened together by a ring that held a much shorter chain with a crossbar at the end. This bar slipped into a buttonhole in the vest, and the long chains held a pocket watch on one end and accessories on the other. These were worn across the front of the suit coat and ended in a pocket on each side. The links of the chain, though often gold-filled, were also made of gold and came in various designs. These were known as Alberts or double Alberts, after Victoria's consort. Although available in different lengths, the chains were meant to be worn draped as opposed to pulled taught. The fancy or ornate crossbars tended to be worn from the inside-out to make them visible, while the standard bars were usually worn so they were not visible. The Albert-style pocket-watch chain, the pocket watch itself as well as the charm, locket or fob such as a pocket knife, watch key, compass, cigar cutter or fraternal symbol have all become interesting and, often, quite valuable collectibles.

    For the Victorian gentleman, vest-chain accessories were many and varied. Gold and silver pens and pencils were popular. For those who smoked, there were gold cigar cutters. Choice sometimes ran to a gold or silver toothpick - the pick screwed into the handle to completely enclose it. How about your own personal swizzle stick? The swizzle end would retract into the barrel once one had stirred one's cocktail, and it was then tucked away into a vest pocket. Charms set with diamonds and other precious stones were frequently given as gifts. Sometimes the charm indicated the profession or hobby of its wearer. Lodge pendants have become a collectible entity unto themselves, as have items with armorial designs and patterns.

    Watches for gentlemen in Victorian times were often thick and heavy. These turnips, as they were called, are far from scarce. Most every estate will have one or two tucked away, and though many have little value, others can be worth thousands of dollars. Recently, a Waltham pocket watch came to light that was destined for a garage sale table. The watchworks themselves were commonplace and not terribly exciting, but they were housed in a 14-karat yellow gold closed case that weighed two ounces. This old watch was worth $1,800 in gold value alone in today's marketplace. Pocket watches with complications such as a "moon phase" dial or those watches designated as "railroad" grade are invariably worth a great deal more than the standard type. Watch cases could be plain, engine-turned or engraved. The engravers delighted in portraying views of romantic cottages, famous castles, a woodland stag in a wooded landscape or exotic floral and even "naughty" fantasies. Often, the more elaborate the engraving, the more valuable the pocket watch. As noted, the material used to make a watch case can having a huge bearing on the value. Gold-filled cased watches usually have much less value than a solid gold or sterling silver-cased pocket watch - but not always. Proceed with caution before discarding one of these old "turnips."

    Another accessory that was sometimes attached to the chain or kept conveniently in the vest pocket was the match safe - a device that was used to house vesta matches or "lucifers." Often, these are improperly identified today. However, they are another collectible item that form their own category.

    Collar buttons, shirt studs and cuff buttons and links became important in that day. Hardly ever worn today, these items are often set aside as useless when clearing an estate. A Victorian gent's studs and links were often made of gold or silver and set with gem-quality jewels. These things vied for importance with the watch chain. A close second was the tie or cravat pin. A gentleman could select a large but simple pin or a more elaborate one made with precious stones. Men's rings in that day were large and impressive. Often, a ring was made with an initial surrounded with diamonds, all set in gold. Others might contain a cameo or tiger-eye stone. Fraternal emblems were also in demand.

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  • 05/06/17--08:42: “embryo ashes” jewelry.
  • When in-vitro fertilization goes well, a woman emerges at the end with a baby (or babies) that could have otherwise never been born. Often, however, she also ends up with a handful of extra frozen embryos. Online, women refer to these leftovers as “snowbabies” or “frosties,” and deciding what to do with them can be agonizing. Options include donating them to other infertile couples, discarding them, or keeping them in storage for fees that can run up to $1,000 a year. For some couples, none of these options feel quite right.

    Ruth Graham is a regular Slate contributor. She lives in New Hampshire.
    A small Australian company called Baby Bee Hummingbirds has come up with another solution: “embryo ashes” jewelry. The company's founder, a midwife named Amy McGlad, tells the Australian website Kidspot that families send in their “embryo straws”—tiny storage tubes—and she cremates the contents into “embryo ash” that preserves the cells’ DNA. The ash is then set in resin and turned into pendants or other baubles that look like mood rings or little polished geodes. The company’s products cost between $80 and $600.

    McGlade founded Baby Bee in 2014, and she told Kidspot she has made about 50 pieces of jewelry from embryos since then. “I firmly believe that we are pioneering the way in this sacred art,” she said. “The embryos often signifying the end of a journey, and we are providing a beautiful and meaningful way to gently close the door.”

    The pro-life community, discovering the baubles this week through the Kidspot story, does not see it that way. Many have reacted with revulsion at the notion of turning “babies” into jewelry

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    In November 2016, the Indian government implemented a surprise demonetization policy that removed Rs15.44 trillion or 86 percent of the currency in circulation from India’s economy. This had an immediate devastating impact on the whole Indian economy, including the gold jewelry sector. It was the culmination of an extremely challenging year for India’s gold jewelry industry that included strikes, even more government regulations and high gold prices. All of this led to a seven-year low in gold jewelry demand in India in 2016.

    Against this backdrop a 16% year-over-year increase in gold jewelry demand in India in the first quarter of 2017, as reported by the World Gold Council, isn’t as strong as it might normally seem. India’s importance in the gold jewelry marketplace can’t be underestimated. China and India accounted for more than half (55.8%) of global gold jewelry demand in the first quarter.

    India’s surge in gold jewelry demand in the first quarter was enough to fuel a year-over-year 1% increase in global gold jewelry demand in the first quarter to 480.9 tons, according to WGC’s Gold Demand Trends report for the first quarter of 2017. However, when looking closer at this soft growth, it shows that global gold jewelry demand remains weak due to a 9% rise in gold prices from the end of December till the end of March and a myriad of regional geopolitical and economic issues that are causing uncertainty throughout the world.

    “Gold jewelry demand was broadly steady, but remains weak in the longer term context,” the WGC said in its report. “Demand was 18% below the 587.7-ton five-year quarterly average.”


    As mentioned, Indian jewelry demand jumped 16% to 92.3 tons from last year’s exceptionally low level. The WGC emphasized that despite the high quarterly gain gold jewelry demand remains weak, primarily due to the high cost of the precious metal. The good news is that “by the end of March, 85% of the value of currency removed from circulation under demonetization had been returned,” the WGC said in its report.

    The WGC said the outlook in gold jewelry demand is “robust” with one caveat. “The market is wary of the forthcoming decision on GST (Goods and Services Tax— a comprehensive indirect tax on manufacture, sale and consumption of goods and services throughout India, with the exception of Jammu and Kashmir) and this will likely weigh on demand until the government’s final decision, due for implementation in early July.”

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    I'll admit that I had to read this headline twice (or three times) because I thought it had to be a twisted joke. Sadly, it's not. Ready for it?

    "Couples are turning extra IVF embryos into jewelry."

    A website unironically named KidSpot says "Couples are Turning Extra IVF Embryos into Jewelry."

    After a six-year IVF journey to receive miracles Lachlan, 4, and 21-month-old twins Charlotte and William, Belinda and Shaun Stafford didn’t know what to do with their remaining embryos. Their babies. Donation wasn’t an option, the annual storage fee was an added financial strain, and disposing of them unimaginable.
    So when the NSW couple heard about Baby Bee Hummingbirds, an Australian company turning embryos into keepsake jewelley, they jumped at the chance. Now Ms Stafford has all of her babies with her every day – including seven embryos in her heart-shaped pendant worn close to her heart, always.
    The mom said the financial strain would be too much to keep the embryos alive in perpetuity so the couple considered planting the embryos in a garden. But she said they move too much and she couldn't bear to leave them behind. Hence, the necklace.

    In quotes that sound like a commercial for jewelry made from embryos, the mother said:

    “My embryos were my babies - frozen in time.
    “When we completed our family, it wasn’t in my heart to destroy them.
    “Now they are forever with me in a beautiful keepsake.”
    Amy McGlade, founder of Baby Bee Hummingbird, said that while they make thousands of keepsakes that include breast milk over placenta, they've made over 50 pieces of jewelry made of embryos in the past few years. “I don’t believe there is any other business in the world that creates jewellery from human embryos, and I firmly believe that we are pioneering the way in this sacred art, and opening the possibilities to families around the world,” she said.

    Did she just say "sacred art?" Make. It. Stop. The more I read the more horrified I became. But wait, it gets worse. According to the group's Facebook page, they're running a sale!

    The families we craft for are truly aware of the various world wide options for Embryos in storage. They are informed, educated & loving people who have made an educated decision. • • • • • • We are absolute experts & true original leaders in Embryo Ashes • DNA Jewellery. This is an exclusive concept unique Baby Bee Hummingbirds. We are working with a number of local & international fertility clinics to raise awareness of this option for families.
    The next step in to create educational tools & information packs suitable reflective of this exclusive art. We are therefore offering 15% off all Embryo Ashes Jewellery. We hope this will make the process more affordable & easier on families. It is our wish that we can have these pieces professionally photographed & used for our resources.
    EMBRYO15 This is the code. It only applies to pieces crafted with Embryos & will help raise much needed awareness.
    Here's a rule of thumb. Any time someone talks about "extra" humans, take a step back.

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    There may be nothing sweeter than giving jewelry on Mother’s Day, but those feelings can be tarnished if it turns out you got a bad deal.

    That can be especially true if you are paying a lot of money. And this Mother's Day, that's more likely to be the case than in previous years. According to the National Retail Federation's annual survey, Americans plan to spend $5 billion on jewelry this Mother's Day. That's up from $4.2 billion last year.

    The first thing to do when buying jewelry is to make sure you are educated about the kind of jewelry you are interested in, says NerdWallet retail and shopping expert Courtney Jespersen.

    Cost can depend on issues such as individual craftsmanship, but comparing prices at different retailers can help you gain a sense of what a certain diamond cut might fetch, for instance. Jespersen also recommends that novice jewelry buyers bring along a friend or relative who has more expertise for advice.

    Then, think about the financial aspects of buying jewelry. Here are some tips:

    Be wary of financing plans. Some jewelers offer what appear to be sweet financing deals. To get them, buyers have to open a store credit card. Those cards typically include a low-interest or interest-free promotional period to make payments on the purchase. But after the grace period ends, the cards charge high interest rates.

    Kay's, for instance, currently offers a 0 percent interest promotion if the balance is paid off in 12 months. After that, interest is charged at rates between 17 percent and 26.99 percent.

    Zales has an interest-free promotion for a period of six months, 12 months, or 18 months. If you pay in full by 36 months you'll be charged an APR of 9.99 percent. After that the card charges an interest rate that can be as high as 29.74 percent.

    Consider buying insurance. If you are making an expensive purchase, consider buying insurance in case of damage, theft, or loss. Standard homeowners or renters insurance typically covers only up to $1,500 of jewelry value. Some insurers offer specialized plans for jewelry that is worth more. Talk with your insurance provider about your options.

    Check the return policy. Each jeweler has its own return and exchange policies, so make sure you understand the fine print before committing. For instance, JCPenney won’t accept returns of customized jewelry, which includes jewelry that has been engraved or was custom-designed for the customer. Zales also doesn’t offer returns or exchanges for jewelry that has been engraved. Blue Nile, though, does accept returns on rings that have been engraved, although it won’t refund the cost of the engraving.

    Ask about trade-ins. If you have jewelry you’re no longer wearing, consider asking the jeweler whether it would accept trade-ins to help offset the cost of buying jewelry. In that case, the jeweler will allow you to trade in the older piece for a newer item. Some jewelers will accept trade-in items from other stores or jewelers; others accept only jewelry previously bought at their store.

    Ask for a discount. Jespersen says that shoppers can ask for an incentive to follow through with a purchase. One example: a discount equal to the value of sales tax on the item you are planning to buy.

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  • 05/06/17--08:47: Cult-adored jewelry is fine
  • Remember when you felt suddenly compelled to get a handful of tiny piercings along your earlobes and cartilage a few years ago? You can thank Maria Tash for that. The jewelry designer and piercing expert has been chipping away at the grungy, unglamorous stigma of body piercing since 1993, when she opened her first shop in the East Village. By 2005, she’d become a go-to piercer and jewelry designer in New York’s fashion, art, and music circles, and upgraded to her current Noho space—but even then, she couldn’t call it a “piercing” spot. “It was a very different era,” she says. “It had to be about the jewelry, not the piercings. So it’s very exciting to now be embraced for this concept of multiple, unusual lobe piercings with really gorgeous jewelry.”
    That’s a good way to sum up her business. Back in the ’90s, body piercings were “thick, industrial steel rings and barbells”—but her cult-adored jewelry is fine, super delicate, and comes in white, yellow, and rose gold studded with diamonds, opals, and other precious stones. Twenty years ago, the idea was that a thicker ring prevented infections, but when Tash realized that wasn’t the case, she started experimenting with those thinner, daintier pieces—and the industry followed. Perhaps the best mark of just how far she’s come is the fact that Liberty London—the 142-year-old department store—invited her to set up a permanent space on its ground floor which opened last August. And tonight, Tash is opening a pop-up at Saks Fifth Avenue’s flagship, complete with on-site piercings and a variety of ear, nose, navel, and nipple jewelry.

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    Launched in 2013 as a labor of love by founder Giuseppe Petti, Didofà grew to 2,000 authorized Italian retailers by 2015; 1,000 more are currently slated to begin retailing the brand over the next year in Europe and around the world. When Didofà's distinctive watches and fun, fashionable jewelry began flying off the shelves of the first authorized U.S. retailers to stock the products, Petti realized American consumers were just as hungry for Didofà as were the brand's hundreds of thousands of Italian fans. Airport duty-free shops were the perfect point of sale: Thanks to their depictions of instantly recognizable landmarks and hand-painted 3D theme scenes featuring accents like miniature flags and country-specific memorabilia, Didofà 3D watches had found an early following among travelers.

     "For me, Didofà is a way of remembering both distant and nearby places, those which I have visited and those I would like to visit, memories of a gesture or an experience," Petti explained. "Didofà represents both dreams and everyday reality, which I attempt to recreate in miniature with my creations."

    With over 263,000 followers on Facebook and another 25,000 on Instagram, Didofà has a loyal brand following--in fact, the March 2017 issue of Cosmopolitan Italia featured a Didofà watch. With a high-end boutique aesthetic and an affordable price point, Didofà appeals to a wide variety of consumers, from trendsetters to jetsetters. The company's Facebook post featuring a sneak peak of the upcoming Didofà handbag line prompted one fan to comment, "Cannot wait to see them. If they are even 1/10 as cute as your watches they will be amazing!"

    "We are thrilled to make Didofà watches and bracelets available in person to fashion-forward travelers all over the world through our new airport retail locations," Petti said. "And, of course, Didofà fans can still find the latest designs at"

    With the ink barely dry on the Didofà duty-free shop agreements, Petti and his team are already hard at work designing and hand-crafting the Didofà handbag and perfume lines, to be debuted later this year. Stay up to date on all new product offerings by following Didofà on Facebook and Instagram (@didofawatch); see the full line of Didofà watches and jewelry at

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    Legendary New York City retailer Saks Fifth Avenue has unveiled the Vault, its first-ever specialty store devoted entirely to top-tier jewelry. Located in Greenwich across from Saks’s Connecticut flagship, the massive 61,500-square-foot space houses work by 23 of today’s most imaginative jewelers. The Vault has added to Saks’s existing stable of jewelers—which includes Chopard, Vhernier, and Nikos Koulis—by introducing Messika, De Grisogono, and Anita Ko, among others.

    While some brands’ individual areas boast their own signature decor—De Grisogono is finished with dramatic, gleaming black surfaces, Graff’s boasts textured gold wall coverings and intricate metalwork—the Vault’s larger space is furnished in warm, subdued bronzes and coppers and is accented with antique mirrored pillars, polished bronze panels, and a dazzling pair of crystal chandeliers.

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    Pearl is a precious jewelry for women for hundreds of years. What do you say about this stone with the symbol of elegance and simplicity?
    The beauty of the ocean, the symbol of nobility and innocence. The only natural jewelry pearl that has won the admiration of women of all ages in every era.
    Each hinge has its characteristic features that determine its own form and is unique with its distinctive features.

    Colorful Gospels

    The pearls in different tones have rainbow colors. There are also tonnes like pinkish, silver white, greenish-white, gray, cognac, cream color, black except gold.
    Grace that comes every five years

    Pearl as a beauty mask

    Pearl as a beauty pearl women
    For, it is not only a jeweler, but also a great proposition as the essence of beauty and anti-aging creams. Experts who have developed many care products in the past think that the amino acids and nutrients in the wound are a unique source of skin care.
    The pearl passion of the famous painter Vermeer

    The pearl passion of the famous painter Vermeer
    The Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer, although not well known in his lifetime, has become known in the art world with works left after his death. If you look at the works of my painter who works very carefully and carefully as if his works are working on pearls, there seems to be a curiosity about thrust.

     The Pearl Cube

    Famous with Pearl Cube: Girl with Pearl Cube
    Vermeer's most famous piece is the pearl girl with the Pearl Earl, also known as "North Mona Lisa ". As its name implies, it is a pearl of the focal point. It is thought that the girl pictured in the tabloid is the daughter of the painter or someone working with her. Tablodan inspired the book and then adapted to the white screen.

    The indispensable accessory of women, beauty secret, pearl inspiration pearl, now with the success of Karaca, as you have never seen before, comes our tables. Karaca offers the Fine Pearl series of Sofranran, which uses real pearls in its construction. The grace of the sting is now the pride of Turkey

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    The self-styled “Galleria of Jewelry” has been among the more prolific purveyors of diamonds in recent years. But its parent company revealed on Thursday that it’s been struggling to get shoppers into its 270 Jared stores. Same-store sales fell an unsettling 7.6 percent last quarter, Signet Jewelers Ltd. reported.

    Much of the malaise came from its 24 locations in Texas, which accounted for half of the decline—something analysts tied to the oil glut. But Signet Chief Executive Officer Mark Light also blamed a presidential campaign season that has scared couples into closing their checkbooks. And not just for Jared, but industrywide.

    It’s “a consumer mindset issue that relates to bridal,” Light said. “They just want to get some stability and understand what’s going on as a whole in the world, and what’s going on in the presidential election.”

    He added: “Once we get through the elections, hopefully we’ll see some stability.”

    Jared sells engagement rings and other sparkly jewelry in malls across America. Considered more upscale than its sister brands at Signet, Kay and Zales, Jared shops push more fine jewelry and diamonds than sterling silver and semiprecious stones. Its romantic (or cheesy, depending on your level of cynicism) television ads have long been on the airwaves, selling baubles to the middle-class man. “He went to Jared,” the woman in many ads would proclaim, thrusting her finger in the air, adorned with a glimmering diamond ring.

    The reluctance of couples contemplating marriage is exceptionally bad news for Jared, which touts its diamond-encrusted rings for engagements, weddings, and anniversaries above all else–usually a safe bet because it’s such a stable segment.

    Traffic was weak across the board for Signet, said Seema Shah, an analyst for Bloomberg Intelligence. Fine jewelry is “a discretionary purchase, so people are spending less,” she said. That was especially apparent in energy-dependent regional economies where Jared has floundered.

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    Tiffany & Co., one of the largest luxury jewelry retailers in the world, and Signet Jewelers, the world’s largest retailer of diamond jewelry, both reported significant declines in second-quarter sales.

    Tiffany & Co.

    The luxury retail jeweler said worldwide net sales for the second quarter fell 6 percent to $932 million and comparable store sales dropped 8 percent, year-over-year. Exchange rates seemed to have little effect on the global declines, with the exception of Japan. On a constant-exchange-rate basis, worldwide net sales and comparable store sales declined 6 percent and 9 percent, respectively.

    Sales declines were reported throughout all of its regions, with the exception of Japan. The company, which operates 311 stores around the world, attributes the drop in sales to decreased activity from local customers and foreign tourists.

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    The good news: You found The Dress. The one you’ve dreamed of, longed for. The other news: It cost more than you budgeted for (but was totally worth it.) The upshot: You’ll have to accessorize creatively—and cost efficiently. Brooke Danielson,’s Accessories Editor, who collected these 34 earrings, hair jewels, brooches, shoes, and bags for budget-conscious brides, advocates looking for the unexpected accessory that “feels bridal without being quite literally so.” Unlike a wear-once, heirloom-in-the-making wedding gown, any of these special, sparkly accessories—from J.Crew’s confetti sandal to Vince Camuto’s pearly clutch—can easily find a place in your wardrobe long after the honeymoon is over.

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    Meet Instagram’s new power sellers, style influencers who are changing the face of modern marketing
    A recent Instagram post from jewelry retailer Bernie Robbins Jewelers showed a young blond woman standing in front of the colorful, whipped meringue–shape domes of St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow’s Red Square. The woman’s eyes were closed peacefully to the setting sun, her left arm flung over a shoulder. Gleaming on her wrist was a chunky steel watch. Jewelry brand Gabriel & Co.’s Instagram account (@gabrielandco) was tagged, and the hashtags included #BernieRobbinsJewelers and #BernieRobbins.

    The woman was Kristina Smolyar, a social media ­influencer with 14,000-plus followers, who’s based in Philadelphia—near two of the Somers Point, N.J., retailer’s four locations.

    The Instagram post—along with several others on both Smolyar’s and Robbins’ feeds—was the product of a partnership between the retailer and the up-and-coming style influencer. Before teaming up with Smolyar, the store collaborated with Philadelphia style-guy-about-town Ian Michael Crumm, who has more than 300,000 Instagram followers, on posts and even an in-store appearance flagging Crumm’s favorite pieces. Crumm was also the store’s face for the Swiss watch brand Tudor in late 2016, when he posted a series of artsy photos of his wrists strapped with Tudor timepieces.

    Harvey Rovinsky, owner of Bernie Robbins, says the campaigns with the young fashionistas have “dramatically increased the reach of what we do. We all know that any kind of an editorial mention is more effective than advertising—and that’s what this comes down to. These are people who are using their network to increase our reach.”

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  • 05/24/17--23:37: First started with one shop
  • When Lanie List wanted to grow her bridal dress shop business, she turned to an unusual route: franchising. The seven-year-old business that first started with one shop in New York City’s West Village, now proudly numbers 12 stores across the country. Three of those stores are owned by List herself, the others by her franchisees whom she has carefully vetted. Lovely Bride isn’t just an ordinary bridal store. The atmosphere is one of beauty and cozy charm from the moment you walk in the door. I personally experienced the effect as a bridesmaid while I dutifully helped a friend try on dresses at the New York City location (now in TriBeCa) in 2015. The aesthetics from store design to dress design cater to millennial brides who are attracted to independent designers. Dress prices average $2,000-$3,000 each and last fall List introduced the first collection designed exclusively for Lovely shops called Louvienne, followed by two other exclusive collections since then.

    List says that every store is averaging 20-40 percent growth year-over-year. She self-funded the business and currently has no debt, which she credits to the franchise model. List counts approximately 24 employees; four corporate, and around 20 in her fully-owned shops. List and I met for coffee one morning outside Laughing Man, right next to the Lovely NYC location, and then we popped inside the shop to take a couple of fun photos. Read on to learn how List got started, her thoughts on which businesses make the best franchises, and what to look for in a franchisee.

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    With the complexity of issues in the jewelry industry—such as the changing retail environment, consumer spending habits, and fickle and fragile economic recovery—it is no wonder the “Luxury” jewelry trade show in Las Vegas elicited responses from exhibitors ranging from wildly ecstatic to deeply disappointed.

    As is typical with these kinds of reports those doing well were happy to speak on the record while those who struggled spoke on the condition of anonymity.

    Luxury, held at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center May 31 –June 2, is billed as a preview to “JCK Las Vegas,” the largest jewelry trade show in North America that showcases the breadth of the jewelry industry. Approximately 250 jewelry manufacturers and designers who create high-end jewels and watches exhibit to an invitation-only group of luxury retailers. After the three-day period, Luxury is open to all attendees of JCK Las Vegas, which also is held at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.

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    Diamonds may be a girl's best friend, but every girl still needs to pick the stone for her engagement ring wisely. Today we're diving into behind-the-scenes details you didn't know about diamonds and the stores in which they're sold. For example, are those Four C's really that important? How much of a retail markup are we talking about here? And what kinds of sales tactics should buyers be aware of? With help from pros who work in the business, we're laying it all out there for you.
    There Isn't a "Diamond Season"
    Lawn mowers go on sale in the fall, Christmas trees hit rock bottom prices in early January. But diamonds? They're purchased year 'round, and therefore don't experience much of a price fluctuation.
    "Diamonds are commodities, and prices are based on fair market value. This means that there isn't necessarily an optimum time of year to make a purchase," says Tirath Kamdar, a 10-year jewelry business veteran and the CEO of TrueFacet, on online marketplace for pre-owned jewelry. "Savvy consumers can follow the market through Rapaport, but prices don't rise and fall all that drastically. Make the purchase when you're ready and buy what you love."
    If you're all about snagging a good deal, consider shopping for vintage and antique rings. Kamdar says these are typically priced lower than buying new, and are beautiful and unique.
    The Markup Ranges from 20% to 250%
    We'll preface this by saying that every operation has different markup strategies. Still, every store must markup the price, otherwise no profit will be made. We asked a handful of diamond retailers about markup percentages, and their answers varied from as little as 20% (especially for online retailers), to as much as 250%. Most fall somewhere in between a wholesale markup of 100% to 200%, though.

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    What: Emmy Eff Designs sells original handcrafted jewelry. Genuine stones and crystals are handpicked and ethically sourced, says artist Emily Powell. Rings, earrings, bracelets and necklaces are crafted using metalsmithing and precious metal wire wrapping with stone beads and polymer clay.

    Who: Powell is an artist at heart, drawing and painting since she was a child. “I started experimenting with jewelry along with learning more about stones and crystals after feeling consistently unfulfilled in my job position at the time.” Inspired by what she was learning, she began experimenting with jewelry and her designs evolved.

    What sets this apart: “Anyone who attends one of my events or opens a package from me can feel it: pure positive energy and love,” says Powell. Powell says she donates a portion of the proceeds from some of her products and events to nonprofit organizations.

    Why it works: “Each part of my process is important to me, each customer means a lot to me. I try not to take any of it for granted and continue to be blown away and grateful as the business grows and I make new connections.”

    Find it: Shop online at and or look for Emmy Eff Designs at jewelry shows, art festivals and pop-ups.

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    To debut its newest assortment of Bridal and Fine jewelry, Forevermark Diamonds hosted a luxurious "Bridal Academy" event recently at the Academy Mansion in Manhattan.
    Attendees were free to view some of Forevermark's latest sparklers from leading jewelry designers like Jade Trau and Maria Canale. The event, an interactive preview set up as a beautiful English Tea, allowed guests to walk the Mansion's palatial space while indulging in treats and tea-infused beverages.
    In addition, a specialty, loose-leaf tea "Mixology" bar was set up where all were free to fill jars full of traditional and exotic teas varieties. Diamond specialists were also on-hand to take guests through some of the new bridal pieces -- a dazzling selection of jewels to take any bride-to-be from an engagement event to the wedding day.

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