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Russell Mefford - Jeweler by day, Southern Rocker by night

Russell Mefford - Jeweler by day, Southern Rocker by night

If you’re a Southern rock fan you know the differe...

JA fights for jewelers on Capitol Hill

JA fights for jewelers on Capitol Hill

Association continues to promote industry policy p...

Drive-through jewelry store?

Drive-through jewelry store?

With no serious injuries and a great attitude, own...

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Lafonn celebrates 5 Years at JCK with Anniversary Collection & Gold MacBook giveaway

Lafonn celebrates 5 Years at JCK with Anniversary Collection & Gold MacBook giveaway

(CYPRESS, Calif.) - Lafonn, the brand known for luxury within reach, will celebrate its 5th Anniversary at JCK with a Gold MacBook Giveaway to one luck retailer and an Anniversary Collection.

To enter to win, retailers must complete an entry form (whil...

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Industry Events

Top 5 Reasons to attend JCK Las Vegas

Top 5 Reasons to attend JCK Las Vegas

(NORWALK, Conn.) - The countdown to Las Vegas Jewelry Week has begun. With 2 weeks left until show time, JCK Las Vegas has announced some attributes, features, and amenities that indicate both their readiness and allure. Here are the Top 5 Reasons not...

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On The Move

PhotoScribe jewelry inscription service now operating exclusively from IGI

(NEW YORK) - The International Gemological Institute (IGI) – creators of diamond laser inscription, Laserscribe - has announced that jewelry inscription service, PhotoScribe, will operate solely from the Institute’s New York laboratory.

PhotoScribe las...

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What's New

Michou Jewelry announces marriage of two popular collections

Michou Jewelry announces marriage of two popular collections

When Michou Jewelry founder Michele Sonner thinks back, the seeds of a relationship began over a decade ago, when Michou unveiled the first pieces in its One-of-a-Kind collection.

Michou Jewelry has always been a gem-focused line, thanks to Sonner’s e...

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Featured Articles

Retailer Roundtable: What was your best store promotion?

Retailer Roundtable: What was your best store promotion?

Q: What was your best store promotion?

“For a number of years we’ve held a VIP event and an 11-Hour Sale usually scheduled after Thanksgiving Day and before early December. The VIP event is like a customer appreciation event in that we cater to our to...

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Latest News

Lafonn celebrates 5 Years at JCK with Anniversary Collection & Gold MacBook giveaway

1 DAY AGO
Lafonn celebrates 5 Years at JCK with Anniversary Collection & Gold MacBook giveaway

(CYPRESS, Calif.) - Lafonn, the brand known for luxury within reach, will celebrate its 5th Anniversary at JCK with a Gold MacBook Giveaway to one luck retailer and an Anniversary Collection.

To enter to win, retailers must complete an entry form (while supplies last) at Lafonn’s JCK booth #B19179 bet...

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JA offering Certification exams at JCK Las Vegas

1 DAY AGO

(NEW YORK) - Jewelers of America (JA), the national trade association for businesses serving the fine jewelry marketplace, is offering its renowned Sales and Management Professional Certification exams at the JCK Show. In 2015, the number of jewelry professionals who completed JA Professional Certifi...

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Top 5 Reasons to attend JCK Las Vegas

8 DAYS AGO
Top 5 Reasons to attend JCK Las Vegas

(NORWALK, Conn.) - The countdown to Las Vegas Jewelry Week has begun. With 2 weeks left until show time, JCK Las Vegas has announced some attributes, features, and amenities that indicate both their readiness and allure. Here are the Top 5 Reasons not to miss JCK Las Vegas 2016 (Friday, June 3 - Mond...

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GIA announces dates for New York Jewelry Career Fair

15 DAYS AGO
GIA announces dates for New York Jewelry Career Fair

GIA’s Jewelry Career Fair will return to New York City on Monday, July 25, 2016. Dozens of gem and jewelry companies will be looking to hire skilled and motivated professionals at every career stage. The free event is expected to draw crowds similar to last year’s event in New York, which attracted ...

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PhotoScribe jewelry inscription service now operating exclusively from IGI

1 DAY AGO

(NEW YORK) - The International Gemological Institute (IGI) – creators of diamond laser inscription, Laserscribe - has announced that jewelry inscription service, PhotoScribe, will operate solely from the Institute’s New York laboratory.

PhotoScribe laser inscription service specializes in laser engrav...

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Rio Grande announces winners of 16th annual Saul Bell Design Award

1 DAY AGO
Rio Grande announces winners of 16th annual Saul Bell Design Award

At a celebration dinner held May 15 during the Santa Fe Symposium® in Albuquerque, NM, Rio Grande announced the winners of the 16th annual Saul Bell Design Award competition. Through rigorous judging, a panel of judges chose first- and second-place winners in each of six competitive categories, as w...

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Michou Jewelry announces marriage of two popular collections

1 DAY AGO
Michou Jewelry announces marriage of two popular collections

When Michou Jewelry founder Michele Sonner thinks back, the seeds of a relationship began over a decade ago, when Michou unveiled the first pieces in its One-of-a-Kind collection.

Michou Jewelry has always been a gem-focused line, thanks to Sonner’s early training as a gemologist, which instilled a d...

Readmore

Dazzling Paws Jewelry debuts new Spring Collection

1 DAY AGO
Dazzling Paws Jewelry debuts new Spring Collection

(PLOVER, Wis.) - Dazzling Paws Jewelry has announced a large expansion of their original dog themed sterling silver jewelry collection. The new product line debuts a grand assortment of styles ready for spring.

Myra Westphal, company President, created these pieces with the sunny seasons in mind. “Our...

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The Gem Gallery - starting a good habit

Sherry Frantz began her retail jewelry business years ago when she rented some space in a boutique. Her fledgling business was directed toward women shoppers and self purchase. So when, years later, she got a call from a local hospital with a request involving women and their health, Sherry listened. The hospital had been approached by an oncology nurse who wondered if they could attract and entice more women to get an annual mammogram with the promise of a pearl. The nurse was familiar with programs offered by jewelers to sell one pearl at a time to grow to a bracelet or necklace. Would women respond to a free pearl every year?

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Sherry Frantz, owner of Roanoke, Virginia-based The Gem Gallery.
Started just one year ago, Pearls of Hope is already a hit at the Carilion Clinic in Roanoke, Virginia. The program, born out of a hospital system wanting to promote their mammography services, has already touched many people.

“When I fist contacted Sherry at The Gem Gallery, I had no idea it would grow so fast,” says Hayden Barnes, senior marketing advisor in charge of strategic development at Carilion. “Sherry and I agreed she would order 10,000 pearls, and she offered to sell them to us at cost to get us started.”  Hayden and her team planned to give one pearl to each woman after getting an annual mammogram at the non-profit hospital’s many local mammography locations. An ad was created and word started to get out.

Sherry did not sell the first order at cost, but instead The Gem Gallery underwrote the cost of the pearls. “My sister-in-law is a breast cancer survivor and recently I lost another family member to breast cancer, so the cause is near and dear to me,” says Frantz who had contacted pearl supplier Tracy Pearl’s owner Rebecca Shemwell about the order. “Rebecca jumped on board immediately and offered to get the first order at a special price.” The 10,000 5mm fresh water pearls were ordered in bags of 100 and delivered to the Gem Gallery who in turn delivered them to the hospital.

Barnes dispersed the bags of 100 to the various mammography sites where the staff bags each pearl in an organza bag imprinted with the hospital’s logo along with a pillow of tulle netting and a card. The card is a reminder of the date to call for the next year’s appointment to be noted when the Pearl of Hope is presented to the patient. When the new year started, Carilion was running low on pearls and ordered another 20,000 pearls from Tracy Pearls.

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An interior shot of The Gem Gallery in Roanoke, Virginia.
This fall returning patients will receive their second pearl and Carilion hopes a tradition will begin. “We hope that our pearl gift will encourage women to come back to us to get an annual screening every year,” says Barnes.

Tracy Pearl’s Shemwell couldn’t help but wonder what they were doing with all these pearls. “I guess when you only think about your own single mammogram a year, you can’t imagine the thousands of exams done at multiple locations adding up so quickly.” What is really wonderful is that Tracy Pearls has just received a third order from the Gem Gallery for a year’s worth of pearls: 40,000! That is a lot of mammograms! Frantz and Shemwell both take great pride in being involved in such a worthwhile cause for women.

The Gem Gallery today is a much different business than when Frantz started with the space in a boutique 15 years ago. “I did not set out to be a jeweler, but working in first a J E Caldwell store and then for an independent jeweler while going to college gave me the bug.”

After graduating from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA with an electrical engineering degree, she worked in her field for one year and then quit to work in a store in Roanoke for a year before starting her business. While she knew she loved jewelry and the business of selling it, she knew nothing about running a business. With $13,000 to buy showcases, a safe and inventory, she worked 6 days a week for three years. She started out going to the JA New York Jewelry Show and “scoured every booth and bought single pieces based on the design’s merit, spending maybe $3000 on a trip.” The hotel she stayed at in Manhattan was so tiny, “I could not open my suit case on the floor between the bed and the door.”

“I couldn’t afford to make mistakes in the beginning, but I did!”

 

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The Gem Gallery’s Pearls of Hope program entices women to get an annual mammogram with the offer of a free pearl.
After a year and a half in the boutique, Frantz moved to an office location and then her own space in a shopping center and stayed there for eight years. She has been in her current location for five years. Today The Gem Gallery carries a wide assortment of jewelry and has a full time jeweler, a full time watch maker and a staff of 5 part timers. Frantz has a 3 1/2 year old daughter, so she is trying to work part time six days a week.

One of the best things she thinks she has recently done was to hire a twenty something year old woman who lacked jewelry skills, but makes up for it in on line social networking skills. The store now has a Facebook page and is using Constant Contact and Twitter to reach out to new customers while staying in touch with the existing ones. Frantz feels like this is directing her business into a new era and has seen positive results.

The store is holding their first ever Ladies Night this fall and plans to network with a local plastic surgeon that advertises extensively to the female market. “We are starting to do business a new way and it is very exciting to see results and new sales patterns.”

Something tells us Sherry Frantz is an open minded business woman who is not afraid to try something new.


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