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From flea markets to estate jewelry market leader

From flea markets to estate jewelry market leader

With Millennials marrying in record numbers, “some...

Take a proactive approach to jewelry retailing

OJA seminar to offer sales techniques, JA certific...

Dorothy Burke, co-founder of Burkes Fine Jewelers in Kilmarnock, VA dies at 90

Dorothy Burke, co-founder of Burkes Fine Jewelers in Kilmarnock, VA dies at 90

Dorothy Lee Thrift Burke, 90, co-founder of Burkes...

AJA, GJA to co-host annual Convention April 10 – 12

AJA, GJA to co-host annual Convention April 10 – 12

The Alabama Jewelers Association (AJA) and Georgia...

Jewelers of America names 2015 GEM Awards winners

Jewelers of America names 2015 GEM Awards winners

(NEW YORK) - Jewelers of America (JA), the national...

Elisa Ilana’s Lollies Collection has something for everyone

Elisa Ilana’s Lollies Collection has something for everyone

(OMAHA, Neb.) - The Elisa Ilana Collection offers d...

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AISociety AiCertify-2015 debuts with a Global Valuation Standard

The AISociety - Appraisers International Society (AIS) began live and self-study global, online, offerings of AiCertification™2015 at the start of Feb...

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Cas-Ker Company releases 8th edition catalog

(CINCINNATI) - The Cas-ker Company has released the eighth edition of its Tools and Supplies for Jewelers and Watchmakers. The new edition comes with a...

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Dorothy Burke, co-founder of Burkes Fine Jewelers in Kilmarnock, VA dies at 90

4 DAYS AGO
Dorothy Burke, co-founder of Burkes Fine Jewelers in Kilmarnock, VA dies at 90

Dorothy Lee Thrift Burke, 90, co-founder of Burkes Fine Jewelers in Kilmarnock, Virginia - a family owned and operated fine jewelry and repair store - died on December 31, 2014.

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AISociety AiCertify-2015 debuts with a Global Valuation Standard

4 DAYS AGO

The AISociety - Appraisers International Society (AIS) began live and self-study global, online, offerings of AiCertification™2015 at the start of February with the live, AiResidence sessions of its 5-course series of Valuation Appraisal courses to AIStandard v4.0 for gems, jewelry, watches and othe...

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AJA, GJA to co-host annual Convention April 10 – 12

4 DAYS AGO
AJA, GJA to co-host annual Convention April 10 – 12

The Alabama Jewelers Association (AJA) and Georgia Jewelers Association (GJA) wish to invite all retail jewelers and vendors to the 2015 annual co-hosted Convention at Marriott’s Grand National Resort & Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Opelika, Alabama.

The educational program features industry s...

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Take a proactive approach to jewelry retailing

4 DAYS AGO

OJA seminar to offer sales techniques, JA certification opportunity

The Oklahoma Jewelers Association (OJA) invites retail jewelers in Oklahoma and surrounding states to attend a seminar developed to enhance sales techniques targeting today’s multiple generations of jewelry buyers.

Lynn Baldwin and Darc...

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Bulova celebrating 140th anniversary in 2015

4 DAYS AGO

Esteemed watchmaker commemorates 140 years of consistent creativity and innovation

(NEW YORK) - Since 1875, Bulova has been renowned as a force for innovation in timekeeping, known for its dedication to creativity, artistry and craftsmanship. In 2015, to mark 140 years of impressive achievements and a...

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Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company earns 28 consecutive A+ Superior Ratings from A.M. Best Company

4 DAYS AGO

(NEENAH, Wis.) - Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company has earned 28 consecutive A+ Superior financial strength ratings from A.M. Best Company, a highly respected insurance rating and information source. Founded in 1913, Jewelers Mutual is an insurer dedicated solely to serving the jewelry industry in th...

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Cas-Ker Company releases 8th edition catalog

4 DAYS AGO

(CINCINNATI) - The Cas-ker Company has released the eighth edition of its Tools and Supplies for Jewelers and Watchmakers. The new edition comes with an expanded collection of equipment from it’s seventh edition release in 2013, and contains new reference material for watchmakers and jewelers to make...

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GIA to issue revised Colored Stone and Pearl Reports

4 DAYS AGO

(CARLSBAD, Calif.) - GIA has announced, effective Feb. 1, they began issuing revised Colored Stone and Pearl Reports and launched Report Check enhancements. The revised reports feature improved gemstone images and language that reflects the most current gemological terminology. Report Check for color...

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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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