02262017Sun
Last updateWed, 22 Feb 2017 10am
Gemstone wholesaler Tim Roark mixes business with friendships across the globe

Gemstone wholesaler Tim Roark mixes business with friendships across the globe

Tim Roark hadn’t traveled a lot as a child, but he...

Paying tribute to one of the oldest bench jewelers in the southeast

Paying tribute to one of the oldest bench jewelers in the southeast

John Bosco:  May 23, 1924 - December 14, 2016

The f...

Jewelers Helping Jewelers

Jewelers Helping Jewelers

The Southern Jewelers Guild takes a look at the exp...

Retailer Roundtable: Is the bead trend over?

Retailer Roundtable: Is the bead trend over?

Q: Is the bead trend over?

“The bead trend is defin...

Other News

How a group of retirees pulled off the biggest jewelry heist in British history

How a group of retirees pulled off the biggest jewelry heist in British history

They pried open the elevator doors to the open shaft. Then one or more of them dropped down to the basement.

The audacious April 2015 ransacking of safe-deposit boxes in Hatton Garden, London’s jewelry district, was epic. So much cash, jewelry, and ot...

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Industry Events

First 2017 JIS Show leaves attendees confident about the year ahead

First 2017 JIS Show leaves attendees confident about the year ahead

JIS deems 1st of two shows at temporary Fort Lauderdale location a success

(NORWALK, Conn.) - The JIS January 2017 Show concluded on January 29th at the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center for its first show of 2017 and its first of two shows being held ...

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On The Move

Noble Display and Packaging merges with J. Grant & Co.

Noble Display and Packaging merges with J. Grant & Co.

Noble Group brings greater service, products, pricing for independent jewelers

(CEDAR GROVE, N.J.) - Noble Display and Packaging has announced the completion of its merger with J. Grant & Co., a display and packaging company known for designing and...

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What's New

Zimbals expands wholesale pre-owned Rolex Watch Program

Zimbals expands wholesale pre-owned Rolex Watch Program

New SwissWatchServiceCenter.com site exclusively for Rolex repair

(TAMPA, Fla.) - Since 1990, the experts at Zimbals have been dedicated to the sales and service of pre-owned Rolex watches. You may know them by their wholesale-only website, SwissWatchP...

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Featured Articles

Retailer Roundtable: How was your Christmas season and what were your hot sellers?

Retailer Roundtable: How was your Christmas season and what were your hot sellers?

Q: How was your Christmas season and what were your hot sellers?  

“The actual numbers are still being tabulated, but what I can say is the numbers are close to 10 percent over last year’s holiday season. Which was quite a surprise as the months and we...

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Latest News

How a group of retirees pulled off the biggest jewelry heist in British history

4 DAYS AGO
How a group of retirees pulled off the biggest jewelry heist in British history

They pried open the elevator doors to the open shaft. Then one or more of them dropped down to the basement.

The audacious April 2015 ransacking of safe-deposit boxes in Hatton Garden, London’s jewelry district, was epic. So much cash, jewelry, and other valuables had been taken that the loot had bee...

Readmore

Printing up compassion in 3D

11 DAYS AGO
Printing up compassion in 3D

There is no remedy to cure the tragic hurt caused by the loss of a child. For a grieving parent, the best one can hope for is time to process the pain and a few happy memories. Time comes easy, but for parents of stillborn children, happy memories are often in short order.

Srdjan Urosev hopes his com...

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First 2017 JIS Show leaves attendees confident about the year ahead

4 DAYS AGO
First 2017 JIS Show leaves attendees confident about the year ahead

JIS deems 1st of two shows at temporary Fort Lauderdale location a success

(NORWALK, Conn.) - The JIS January 2017 Show concluded on January 29th at the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center for its first show of 2017 and its first of two shows being held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. JIS reports the Show ...

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Registration open for 2017 Santa Fe Symposium

4 DAYS AGO
Registration open for 2017 Santa Fe Symposium

Premier conference for jewelry makers and educators

Registration is now open for the 2017 Santa Fe Symposium®. This year’s Symposium will be held in Albuquerque, N.M. from May 21–24.

“There is one reason I attend the Santa Fe Symposium year after year without fail: I learn more there than I do through...

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Noble Display and Packaging merges with J. Grant & Co.

11 DAYS AGO
Noble Display and Packaging merges with J. Grant & Co.

Noble Group brings greater service, products, pricing for independent jewelers

(CEDAR GROVE, N.J.) - Noble Display and Packaging has announced the completion of its merger with J. Grant & Co., a display and packaging company known for designing and manufacturing Ice Grip displays, modular Breakawa...

Readmore

RDI Diamonds achieves Responsible Jewelry Council certification

18 DAYS AGO
RDI Diamonds achieves Responsible Jewelry Council certification

(LONDON) - The Responsible Jewelry Council (RJC) has announced that RDI Diamonds, Inc. has achieved Certification against the 2013 Code of Practices (COP) at its trading office in New York.

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Zimbals expands wholesale pre-owned Rolex Watch Program

4 DAYS AGO
Zimbals expands wholesale pre-owned Rolex Watch Program

New SwissWatchServiceCenter.com site exclusively for Rolex repair

(TAMPA, Fla.) - Since 1990, the experts at Zimbals have been dedicated to the sales and service of pre-owned Rolex watches. You may know them by their wholesale-only website, SwissWatchPricing.com, or from their book, “The Professional’...

Readmore

ASHI introduces Lovebright - The new halo engagement ring

4 DAYS AGO
ASHI introduces Lovebright - The new halo engagement ring

Surveys have show that diamond halo engagement rings make up nearly 50% of all new bridal sales today. “​This is the perfect time to introduce and showcase the beauty and value of a Lovebright halo engagement ring to your customers,” says Rajeev Pandya, partner at Ashi Diamonds. ASHI’s Lovebright br...

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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?

Gem-Sherry-Dec
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.

Gem-interior-Dec
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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