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5 Arrested in $10M Jewelry Heist

A mother and son were among those taken into custody.

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Five people have been charged in connection with an Atlanta burglary in which thieves made off with jewelry worth as much as $10 million, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

Burglars may have made off with the jewelry from Icebox Diamonds & Watches in Atlanta in February after tying up the store manager and his wife in their home, authorities say.

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Police took four people into custody: Jose Hernandez Pearson, Gregory Andrews, Tameka Lashon Croskey and Meisha Sims. A fifth person, Crysell Croskey, was already in jail on unrelated charges. Authorities said Tameka Croskey and Crysell Croskey are mother and son.

The suspects face a variety of felony counts, including burglary, theft, weapons and narcotics charges, the Journal-Constitution reports. Racketeering charges are also anticipated.

Before the burglary, two gunmen wearing ski masks entered the home and demanded codes to the store safes, according to earlier reports.

The couple were not injured, although the gunmen threatened to kill them, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has reported. But media reports say they were bound with zip ties and duct tape.

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Two men broke into the Buckhead store at about 11:30 p.m. and spent about two hours there, police said. They emptied two safes, taking jewelry and watches.

Cash and jewelry were also reportedly stolen from the jeweler’s home.

Read more at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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Fashion Jewelry Chain to Close All 261 Stores

3,000 employees could lose their jobs.

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Jewelry and accessories retailer Charming Charlie is closing all of its 261 stores in connection with its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filed July 11.

Bloomberg reports that over 3,000 full- and -part-time workers could lose their jobs.

The bankruptcy filing is Charming Charlie’s second in the past two year, Bloomberg reports.

Store closing sales are being conducted by a joint venture consisting of Hilco Merchant Resources and SB360 Capital Partners, according to a press release.

Charming Charlie operates in 38 states. A full list of closing stores is available here.

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The liquidation is expected to take two months.

The company’s debt totals $82 million, according to Bloomberg. Its cash on hand amounted to only $6,000  as of the bankruptcy filing.

Charming Charlie is a Houston-based specialty retailer focused on fashion jewelry, handbags, apparel, gifts and beauty products.

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Serena Williams Wears the Most Unusual Ear Jewelry in Harper’s Bazaar Feature

Can you even call it an earring?

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A new Serena Williams feature in Harper’s Bazaar is sure to attract attention.

The tennis player insisted that the photos be unretouched, and the cover shot features her mostly exposed backside.

But what might be most interesting to jewelers is the unique ear ornament she wore in one of the photos. We’re not even sure you can call this Gucci accessory an earring.

Could this over-the-ear look catch on?

INSTORE style writer Becky Stone doesn’t think so, although she likes the concept.

“I can hear the siren song of this piece! It takes the concept of jewelry adorning the body and elevates it by having the jewel actually become the body,” Stone said. “The look is surprising, sensual, and playful – an appealing combination. Serena looks like she might be a golden robot from the future, and I’m into it.

“That being said, I think there are a lot of practical barriers to the gilded ear’s mainstream appeal. Can she hear? Is her ear sweaty? How does that thing even stay on? I imagine it would have to be custom fitted, which is probably enough to price it out of the possibility of true street style success. I’d be very interested to see a scaled down version: maybe a smaller cuff that fits over just the upper cartilage, or a closely fitted lobe piece that’s anchored with a post for wearability.”

Beth Bernstein, also an INSTORE style writer, also felt the look was unlikely to take off.

“It might work for an editorial shoot or a runway show, but I don’t believe it will ever make it as a trend for even the high-end,” she said. “It kind of looks like the ‘Joker’s Mask’ for the ear.”

Jewelry professionals posting in our INSTORE Community group on Facebook had a variety of reactions.

Deirdre Crosse of Cipher Gems wrote, “Serena Williams requires an extraordinary design for it to register with the viewer. It’s a bold choice of adornment for strong subject.”

Deric Metzger, owner of DeMer Jewelry, commented, “This is the ear climber trend taken to its maximum natural conclusion and it’s every bit as unpleasant as I imagined.”

Other jewelry that Williams wore for the photoshoot included Cartier earrings, a Bulgari bracelet, a David Yurman bracelet and chain and an Audemars Piguet watch.

The photos appear with an essay penned by Williams about standing up for herself and becoming the strong woman, athlete and mother she is today. The issue will be available on newsstands July 23.

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Jewelry Retail Chain to Repay Workers Up to $17.5M

A review found that they were underpaid.

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Australia-based jewelry retailer Michael Hill plans to pay staff members up to a total of $25 million AUD (US $17.5 million) to make up for underpayments that occurred over several years.

The review was initiated by CEO Daniel Bracken and conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, Yahoo Finance reports. The review found a “historic misapplication” of the retail industry award rate, mandated by Australia’s federal government, for some staff members in Australia.

Rapaport News quoted Bracken saying, “When we identified there was an issue, I mobilized a team, supported by independent external experts, to determine the scale of the problem, identify the individuals affected, and to ensure full compliance with the award going forward.

“We will move as quickly as possible to rectify any underpayments with those team members affected.”

The total cost of the repayment is expected to be between AUD $10 million and AUD $25 million, according to Yahoo Finance.

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Michael Hill has about 2,600 employees in 312 stores throughout Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

The company announced in April 2018 that it was closing its nine U.S. stores after failing to find a buyer for them.

Read more at Yahoo Finance

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