01172017Tue
Last updateWed, 11 Jan 2017 7pm
Leading the state in estate jewelry

Leading the state in estate jewelry

Levy’s capitalizing on estate jewelry popularity

Es...

Greg Lynn discovers art in the midst of struggle

Greg Lynn discovers art in the midst of struggle

When Greg Lynn’s parents were transferred from Nor...

Retailer Roundtable: What is your outlook for the industry in 2017?

Retailer Roundtable: What is your outlook for the industry in 2017?

Q: What is your outlook for the industry in 2017?  

“...

ASHI launches #LovebrightValentine Sweepstakes

ASHI launches #LovebrightValentine Sweepstakes

 

(NEW YORK) - After receiving a “fantastic response...

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24K Club SEUS accepting applications for 2017 scholarships

24K Club SEUS accepting applications for 2017 scholarships

The 24 Karat Club Southeastern United States (SEUS) is pleased to announce that applications are currently being accepted for multiple scholarships. Individuals employed in the jewelry industry for a minimum of 2 years, currently working in the indus...

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Industry Events

Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair coming in February

Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair coming in February

The Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP), the Ministry of Commerce of the Royal Thai government has extended an invitation for U.S. jewelers to visit the upcoming 59th Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair 2017. The Fair will be held February...

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On The Move

Stuller commits to promoting health and wellness in Louisiana

Stuller commits to promoting health and wellness in Louisiana

Company designated as a top-level WellSpot

(LAFAYETTE, La.) - Stuller is proud to announce that they have been named a level one WellSpot by Well-Ahead Louisiana, an initiative started by the Louisiana Department of Health.

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What's New

MJSA launches Council of Custom Jewelers as part of new Custom Design program

MJSA launches Council of Custom Jewelers as part of new Custom Design program

MJSA, a trade association dedicated to professional excellence in jewelry making and design, has introduced the MJSA Council of Custom Jewelers as part of a wide-ranging program to advance the art and consumer appreciation of custom jewelry design.

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Featured Articles

Female wounded warrior finds passion, career and calling in jewelry

Female wounded warrior finds passion, career and calling in jewelry

There are many paths to finding the right career. Most are predictable, but sometimes the path becomes clear only through adversity. Richard Branson, whose net worth of $4.9 billion makes him nearly 10 times wealthier than Queen Elizabeth II, dropped...

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Latest News

24K Club SEUS accepting applications for 2017 scholarships

5 DAYS AGO
24K Club SEUS accepting applications for 2017 scholarships

The 24 Karat Club Southeastern United States (SEUS) is pleased to announce that applications are currently being accepted for multiple scholarships. Individuals employed in the jewelry industry for a minimum of 2 years, currently working in the industry and holding residence in the following states ...

Readmore

Police searching for suspects in $6M New Years Eve jewelry heist

13 DAYS AGO
Police searching for suspects in $6M New Years Eve jewelry heist

Three jewel thieves ended 2016 with a $6 million score, raiding safes at a Midtown jewelry wholesaler just after the ball dropped on New Year’s Eve.

Authorities believe the heist was an inside job, police sources said, since the thieves didn’t even have to crack the safes when they got inside.

“The sa...

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Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair coming in February

13 DAYS AGO
Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair coming in February

The Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP), the Ministry of Commerce of the Royal Thai government has extended an invitation for U.S. jewelers to visit the upcoming 59th Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair 2017. The Fair will be held February 22-26, 2017 at the IMPACT Exhibition & Conven...

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GIA’s annual Board and Research meetings bring together international experts

15 DAYS AGO
GIA’s annual Board and Research meetings bring together international experts

Board welcomes Barbara Dutrow and Stephen Kahler; honors Aron Suna and Hank Siegel for their 16 years of combined service

(CARLSBAD, Calif.) - GIA’s Board of Governors inducted Dr. Barbara Dutrow, Adolphe G. Gueymard Professor of Geology at Louisiana State University; and Stephen Kahler, senior vice p...

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Stuller commits to promoting health and wellness in Louisiana

5 DAYS AGO
Stuller commits to promoting health and wellness in Louisiana

Company designated as a top-level WellSpot

(LAFAYETTE, La.) - Stuller is proud to announce that they have been named a level one WellSpot by Well-Ahead Louisiana, an initiative started by the Louisiana Department of Health.

Readmore

U.S. Kimberley Process Authority appoints IGI’s Jerry Ehrenwald to Board

19 DAYS AGO
U.S. Kimberley Process Authority appoints IGI’s Jerry Ehrenwald to Board

(NEW YORK) - The United States Kimberley Process Authority (USKPA), the not-for-profit organization that administers the use of Kimberley Process certificates for exports of rough diamonds from the U.S., announced that Jerry Ehrenwald, G.G., A.S.A, president and CEO of the International Gemological I...

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MJSA launches Council of Custom Jewelers as part of new Custom Design program

5 DAYS AGO
MJSA launches Council of Custom Jewelers as part of new Custom Design program

MJSA, a trade association dedicated to professional excellence in jewelry making and design, has introduced the MJSA Council of Custom Jewelers as part of a wide-ranging program to advance the art and consumer appreciation of custom jewelry design.

Readmore

LaserStar introduces the FiberCube Compact

5 DAYS AGO
LaserStar introduces the FiberCube Compact

LaserStar Technologies, U.S. manufacturer of laser systems and solutions for laser engraving, laser welding and laser cutting specifically designed for jewelry production and repair, is pleased to introduce the 3802 Series FiberStar Compact Laser Engraving System.

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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!”

 

Gem-pearl
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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