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Couple Close Jewelry Store After Decades in Business Because ‘When You’re Done, You’re Done’

It’s one of 63 jewelers reported in November as closed.

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AFTER 45 YEARS in the jewelry business, Larry Bramoweth woke up one Sunday morning, turned to his wife and said, “That’s it.”

“Oh, thank you for saying that,” replied Connie Bramoweth, a jeweler herself for the 35 years of their marriage. “I’ve been thinking the same thing for weeks.”

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The very next day, the “Closed” sign went up on the door of Bram’s Jewelry, a fixture for 20 years on tourist-packed Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs, CA.

Brams is one of 63 jewelers reported in November as closed by the Jewelers Board of Trade, including six acquisitions and five consolidations.

Before they could even list their 1,750-square foot building for sale, the Bramoweths got a lease offer from a group that intends to turn the space into a microbrewery.

The process of getting the necessary permits and zoning approvals continues even now, but the decision to close the jewelry store was smooth sailing from the start.

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“Larry and I were in exactly the same place,” says Connie, even though neither had acknowledged it to the other until that fateful Sunday morning.

For awhile by then, Connie had been watching the crowds gather daily out on Palm Canyon Drive, thinking to herself, “Oh, please don’t come in.”

“It sounds crazy, I know,” she says now, “but when you’re done you’re done.”

Connie, at least, is not entirely done with jewelry. She continues to do the custom work that has long been her specialty. Her Miller welder continues to be her “favorite toy in all the world.”

As Christmas neared, Connie was happily baking and reading and finishing up a major project for a customer in St. Louis, where the Bramoweths had a store for 10 years before relocating to Palm Springs.

The transition into retirement has been a little less smooth for Larry, says his wife. “He knew what he didn’t want to do, but he didn’t know what he wanted to do. It’s still kind of a conundrum for him.”

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Connie was an antiques dealer when she met her husband, a jeweler who proceeded to teach her everything he could about the business.

He was the salesman of the couple, she says, which freed her to work at her bench in the back.

Praising the internet as “a wonderful tool,” Connie says that any jeweler’s survival today depends on building a strong online presence.

“And that’s not easy,” she says.

It’s also, she says, “not really me.” It’s custom design that interests her, the kind of projects where it might take three years to find the perfect opal. “Today, it’s all about instant gratification.”

While the internet can be of help in the design area as well, there are limits, she says. CAD “can produce some spectacularly beautiful pieces, but in my opinion, they can also be spectacularly boring.”

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“You’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all,” she explains.

Connie urges business newcomers to become familiar with one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces typically found in estate sales. “Some of the older pieces, well, you’re never going to get that” from a software program.

“Learn everything you can,” she recommends. “And don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty.”

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Jewelry Brand Opens 2 Brick-and-Mortar Stores Following $13M Investment Round

They’re located in New York.

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AUrate, a New York based direct-to-consumer fine jewelry brand, plans to use part of the $13 million that it recently raised to build a brick-and-mortar presence.

The company is opening two permanent stores in New York City, Women’s Wear Daily reports. They’ll be located in SoHo and on Madison Avenue.

They’ll “feature experiential technology that introduces consumers to the raw materials and production methods enlisted to create Aurate jewelry,” according to the report.

They were set to open Oct. 12.

AUrate announced in late June that it had completed a $13 million investment round. With the Series A funding, led by Michael Platt of BlueCrest Capital, the company said it planned to expand its online and offline operations and direct investment in technology. Additional participants included Point King Capital, Arab Angel Fund and Drake Management.

AUrate soft-launched in 2015, when co-founders Bouchra Ezzahraoui and Sophie Kahn held full-time jobs at Goldman Sachs & Marc Jacobs, respectively.

The brand was officially launched in 2017, with both online and offline stores. The co-founders went on to raise $2.6M in a seed round.

Read more at Women’s Wear Daily

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De Beers Lab-Grown Diamonds to Make Brick-and-Mortar Debut

It’s a test run that will begin this month.

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Lab-grown diamonds from De Beers-owned Lightbox will soon be available at certain Bloomingdale’s and Reeds Jewelers stores.

It’s a test run that will begin this month, Forbes reports. The effort marks Lightbox’s brick-and-mortar debut.

Lightbox pieces are lab-grown diamonds set in accessibly priced fashion jewelry. They’ve been sold since September 2018 online and in pop-up shops.

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Jimmy Degroot

Video: How to Ask for Referrals Without Being Too Pushy

Video: How to Get People to Buy Jewelry From You Now Instead of ‘Someday’
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Video: How to Get People to Buy Jewelry From You Now Instead of ‘Someday’

Webinar: Sell Silver Like an Expert: Tips and Marketing Tricks for Making This Your Best Silver Selling Season
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The pieces will be sold at Bloomingdale’s 59th Street flagship in New York and its San Francisco location store. And they’ll be available at 30 Reeds Jewelers, primarily in the Southeast, Forbes reports.

The trial is expected to last as long as six months.

Lightbox debuted in 2018 with products priced from $200 for a quarter-carat stone to $800 for a one-carat stone. It started with pink, blue and white lab-grown diamonds in a selection of earring and necklace designs, and the company later said it was expanding the line with bracelets and stackable rings.

Bruce Cleaver, CEO of De Beers, said last year that Lightbox would “transform the lab-grown diamond sector by offering consumers a lab-grown product they have told us they want but aren’t getting: affordable fashion jewelry that may not be forever, but is perfect for right now.”

The move to brick-and-mortar is no surprise. Lightbox Managing Director Steve Coe announced at the JCK Las Vegas show in June that he expected to begin market testing the brand in retail stores this year. After the company’s $94 million plant in Gresham, OR, goes online in 2020, production will increase and the brand will be offered to a broad range of retailers by 2021. Color offerings and jewelry-design styles will likely be expanded as well.

Coe said consumer research has backed up the De Beers belief that laboratory-grown diamonds work best as fashion accessories for everyday wear, and not for significant occasions, such as engagement, for which consumers say they prefer natural diamonds.

Read more at Forbes

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350 Jobs at Risk as British Jewelry Brand Enters Administration

It’s been dealing with ‘difficult trading conditions.’

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British jewelry brand Links of London has named Deloitte as administrator, Reuters reported.

“The Company has had to contend with difficult trading conditions that have impacted the whole retail sector,” joint administrator Matt Smith was quoted saying in a statement.

Deloitte has not announced job cuts, but 350 positions could be at risk, according to Reuters.

The administrator plans to continue operating Links of London, which belongs to Greek jewelry firm Folli Follie, and look at the possibility of selling the company.

Links of London sells through outlets in Europe, the U.S., Asia and online. Among its products are jewelry, watches and cufflinks.

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Currently on its website, Links of London states: “Following the appointment of the Joint Administrators, the Company’s website has unfortunately been temporarily suspended until further notice and therefore is unable to process any online sales.”

The site advises visitors to go to their local Links of London store.

Read more at Reuters

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