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Founder of 80-Store James Avery Artisan Jewelry Has Died

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He was 96.

KERRVILLE, TX — James Avery Artisan Jewelry announced that its founder, James Avery, died on April 30 at age 96.INSTORE JamesAvery

The 64-year success of James Avery Artisan Jewelry is “a testament to his early leadership,” according to a press release from the company.

What began as a one-man endeavor in a garage grew into a firm with over 3,500 employees. The company operates 80 stores in five states: Georgia, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas. Its jewelry is also available in over 200 Dillard’s stores in 28 states and nationwide through JamesAvery.com.

“The inspiring life of James Avery will live on forever in the hearts of his family, friends, Customers and Associates,” the company stated. “James Avery was a dynamic, creative and generous man who touched the lives of many people during his lifetime through his work, his art and his giving spirit.”

Avery was born in 1921 in Milwaukee, WI. He served in the U.S. Air Corps and was stationed at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, TX. Avery completed pilot training and commanded a B-26 bomber, surviving 44 missions over Germany. After World War II, he attended the University of Illinois and received a B.F.A. in industrial design. He pursued college-level teaching, and while at the University of Colorado, he explored jewelry-making techniques.

He spent the summer of 1954 in Kerrville along with his wife visiting his in-laws. He once remarked, “It was during this time that I decided to go into business. I worked alone for three years. Ideas, plenty of hard work and prayers (not necessarily in that order) were the rule of each day.”

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In 1957 he hired his first employee and began a legacy of craftsmanship that would gain national recognition under his leadership.

Avery retired in 2007 turning the reins over to two of his sons, Chris and Paul.

More information about Avery is available at https://www.jamesavery.com/pages/about-us. Customers, friends and associates can send a remembrance to JAtribute@jamesavery.com.

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Big Survey

2019 Big Survey: Wide Pay Gap Persists Among Men, Women Jewelry Store Owners

Results of the 2019 Big Survey are in. Here’s a sample.

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ACCORDING TO THE latest INSTORE Big Survey, women jewelry-store owners continue to earn considerably less than their male counterparts: 33% of the women owners generate less than $40,000 in income from their business compared to just 13% of the men owners. At the other end of the scale, 25% of male owners take home more than $150,000 a year compared to just 2% of women owners. The good news is that gender stereotypes are less evident elsewhere. Nobody can accuse of male jewelers of not being “woke” where it matters. Twenty three percent of the male owners said they always cleaned the floor versus 26% who always delegated it. That’s a sign of progress, right?

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Our questions on earnings and gender were part of our annual look into the lives and business practices of America’s jewelers. While the proportion is rising, women still make a minority of jewelry-store owners or managers (see chart), and generally helm newer businesses (most are first-generation store owners).

What is your gender?

The 2019 Big Survey was conducted in September and October and attracted responses from more than 800 American jewelers. Look out for all the results in the November issue of INSTORE.
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229 US Jewelry Retailers Closed in the 3rd Quarter

The pace of industry shrinkage edged upward.

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The Jewelers Board of Trade reported that 229 U.S. jewelry retailers closed their doors in the third quarter of 2019.

That number represented an increase from 193 closings in the third quarter of 2018.

The total included 182 retailers in the category of “ceased operations” as well as 43 “consolidations (sale/merger)” and 4 bankruptcies.

The total number of U.S. jewelry businesses that closed, including retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers, was 286. That was an increase from 226 in the third quarter of 2018.

Meanwhile, JBT reported that 57 new retailers opened their doors in the U.S., up from 42 in the third quarter of 2018.

The total number of new jewelry businesses, including retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers, was 63. That was up from 51 new businesses in the year-ago quarter.

JBT listed a total of 18,780 jewelry retailers in the U.S. as of the third quarter of 2019, down from 19,300 in the same quarter a year ago.

The group listed 24,795 jewelry businesses in all, including retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers. That was down from 25,537 in the third quarter of 2018.

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The Big Survey 2019: Top Jewelry Brands Revealed

This year marks a three-peat.

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WE ASKED OUR 802 Big Survey respondents, “What are the three best performing brand-name jewelry lines that you carry?”, and these were the top 20 brands mentioned. Interestingly, Gabriel & Co. and Stuller made it a three-peat, claiming the top two spots in our rankings for the third year in a row. Allison-Kaufman moved up a spot from 4 to 3, and Simon G. was a big leaper, jumping all the way to number 5 from 20 in 2018. (Total votes included in parentheses)

2019 RANK / BRAND2018 RANKCHANGE IN RANK
1. Gabriel & Co. (64)1
2. Stuller (41)2
3. Allison-Kaufman (29)4up 1
4. Hearts On Fire (18)3down 1
5. Simon G. (15)20up 15
6 tie. Pandora (14)6
6 tie. Ostbye (14)10up 4
8 tie. John Hardy (13)9up 1
8 tie. Lashbrook (13)15up 7
10 tie. Benchmark (12)8down 2
10 tie. Frederic Duclos (12)11up 1
12 tie. Roberto Coin (11)23up 11
12 tie. Sylvie Collection (11)22up 10
12 tie. ASHI Diamonds (11)23up 11
15 tie. Berco (10)23up 8
15 tie. Tacori (10)outside top 25 
17 tie. ArtCarved (9)7down 10
17 tie. Le Vian (9)outside top 25 
17 tie. Officina Bernardi (9)outside top 25 
17 tie. SDC Creations (9)15down 2
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