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Maryland Jeweler Saw the ‘Writing on the Wall’ … and More Jewelers Who Closed in June

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SAM FRIBUSH of Berman’s Jewelers in Ellicott, MD, had worked in the business for 54 years and never thought of it as a job — until recently.

“I was taking the long way to work, driving slow, and when I start doing that, the writing’s on the wall,” he told the Baltimore Sun.

He knew it was time to retire.

Berman’s was one of 58 jewelry businesses that the Jewelers Board of Trade listed among industry discontinuances and consolidations for June. INSTORE has partnered with JBT to provide a closer look at closings in the jewelry industry via monthly reports that lists closed stores by name. (Note: JBT explains that “consolidation,” as used below, can mean a merger between two affiliate [same owners] companies that had separate corporate charters or the sale of a company to a new owner.)

Evolving consumer habits, the rising popularity of e-commerce and other trends have contributed to jewelry-store closings in recent years. JBT reported earlier this month that 195 U.S. jewelry retailers closed their doors in the second quarter of 2018. That number represented no change from the number of closings in the second quarter of 2017.

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In sunnier news, JBT reported that 63 new retailers opened their doors in the U.S. in the second quarter of 2018, up from 22 in the same quarter a year prior.

Fribush, for one, said his customer base had decreased over the past decade, with younger customers increasingly purchasing online — or not at all.

In the case of another store owner on the list, however, the decision to shut down was less about consumer trends and more about a specific calamity. The owner, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said a bookkeeper defrauded the business of between $100,000 and $400,000.

He couldn’t sustain the loss, so he closed the store. He’s awaiting — or at least hoping for — an indictment of the former employee.

He’s now starting a smaller, appointment-only jewelry business.

“It’s a real challenge to start over after all these years,” he said.

(Editor’s comment: This monthly department is designed to share the many lessons — and many motivations — of jewelers who have decided not to continue with their retail business. The goal is not to inspire fear, but rather to inspire action for jewelers who are looking for ways to thrive in what can be a challenging retail environment.)

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V V S D Jewelers, Inc., d/b/a Fast Fix Jewelry & Watch Repairs, Palmdale, CA, consolidation

Phillips Jewelry, Mapleton, IA, discontinuance

Jewelers Workbench And Watch Repair, North Attleboro, MA, consolidation

Anderson, James L. Jeweler, Inc., d/b/a Morgan’s Jewelers, Winona, MN consolidation

Imam Management Inc., d/b/a Carolina Jewelers, Pineville, NC, consolidation

Watertown Gold and Trade LLC, Watertown, WI, consolidation

Chatelaine’s Ltd., Lewes, DE, discontinuance

Gregory James Jewelry, LLC, Palm Beach, FL, discontinuance

Christopher Charles Fine Jewelry Corp., Haddon Township, NJ, discontinuance

Eugene P, Inc., d/b/a 24 Diamonds, New York, NY, discontinuance

Mastercraft Jewelers, Dewey, OK, discontinuance

Carly M. Fine Jewelry, LLC, Sewickley, PA, discontinuance

Stoeckel, George R. Jewelers, Stroudsburg, PA, discontinuance

Precious Jewelry, Inc., Miami, FL, consolidation

Adrene Jewelers, South Yarmouth, MA, consolidation

J.L.C. Jewelers Ltd., d/b/a Cellini Jewelers, New York, NY, consolidation

Lester Martin Jewelers, Inc., d/b/a Lester Martin Co., Dresher, PA, discontinuance

Classic Estate Jewelry, LLC, Lancaster, PA, consolidation

Root’s Rocks, Inc., d/b/a C. Kirk Root Designs, Austin, TX, consolidation

Jewels By G. Darrell Olson, Inc., d/b/a Jewels & Estate Gallery, Phoenix, AZ, discontinuance

Strausberg Bros Inc., d/b/a Strausberg Bros USA, San Diego, CA, discontinuance

Time Sales, Inc., d/b/a Tourneau TSS, Cabazon, CA, discontinuance

Henry Diamond Co., Los Angeles, CA, discontinuance

Childs, Ashley, Los Angeles, CA, discontinuance

DS Jewelry, Port Richey, FL, discontinuance

Chicago Diamond Industries, (Inc.), d/b/a C. D. I., Chicago, IL, discontinuance

Christopher Allan Jeweler LLC, South Bend, IN, discontinuance

Queena Jewelers, LLC, d/b/a Queena Jewelers Mfg Co., Novi, MI, discontinuance

Nick’s, West Plains, MO, discontinuance

Skillin’s Jewelers, Inc., Norwich, NY, discontinuance

Barato Trading Corporation, d/b/a Barato Watches, New York, NY, discontinuance

Sam Taylor Fine Jewelry LLC, Ashland, OH, discontinuance

David Anthony Jewelry Inc., New Lenox, IL, consolidation

Lawrence Jewelers, Inc., Fort Gratiot, MI, consolidation

Euphoria New York, L.L.C., Englewood, NJ, consolidation

Shun Xing Fine Jewelry Inc., New York, NY, consolidation

U.S. Capital Corporation, d/b/a Retail Store Services, Hollywood, FL, discontinuance

Little King’s Jewelry, Beecher, IL, discontinuance

It’s About Time Flamingo, (LLC), Las Vegas, NV, discontinuance

Digital World, (LLC), Las Vegas, NV, discontinuance

Sterling Possessions LLC, d/b/a Thistle & Bee, New York, NY, discontinuance

Nick’s Pawn & Jewelry, L.L.C., Lawton, OK, discontinuance

Lee, Jerry D., Inc d/b/a Ye Olde Clock Shop, League City, TX, discontinuance

Roman Jewelers, Inc., Flemington, NJ, consolidation

Aqua Master Enterprise Inc., New York, NY, consolidation

H.J.C. (Inc.), d/b/a Arkansas Cash For Gold, Maumelle, AR, discontinuance

Special Sales Company, d/b/a Berman’s Jewelers, Ellicott City, MD, discontinuance

Belle Jewelers LLC, Egg Harbor Township, NJ, discontinuance

Ava Accessories LLC, d/b/a Ava Sterling, Albuquerque, NM, discontinuance

Gold Rush Jewelers, Trotwood, OH, discontinuance

Jane’s, Inc., d/b/a Jane’s Fine Jewelry, Chattanooga, TN, discontinuance

Gold Creations, Inc., d/b/a Fulwiler Jewelers, Abilene, TX, discontinuance

Wendell Setterberg, Inc., d/b/a Setterberg Jewelers, Sun City, AZ, consolidation

O’Halloran Manufacturing Jewelry Co., Ltd, Baton Rogue, LA, consolidation

Bulova (Division of Citizen Watch Company of America, Inc.), New York, NY, consolidation

Luca + Danni, LLC, Cranston, RI, consolidation

Forbes Jewelers, Wadesboro, NC, discontinuance

Nippert Jewelers, LLC, Cincinnati, OH, discontinuance

 

Over the years, INSTORE has won 76 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INSTORE's editors at editor@instoremag.com.

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Wilkerson Testimonials

Cleaning House for a New Generation

At Komara Jewelers in Canfield, Ohio, Wilkerson handled all the aspects of its retirement sale just as owner Bob Komara’s children took over day-to-day operations of the business. They’d used other companies before, says Brianna Komara-Pridon, but they didn’t compare. “If we had used Wilkerson then, it would have been so much better.”

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Jewelry Insurance Startup Firm Raises $2M

The founder is a third-generation jeweler.

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BriteCo, a jewelry-insurance startup company, announced a $2 million seed round.

The round’s investors include Brian Spaly, the founder of Trunk Club; and Jeff Taylor, the former chairman and CEO at Cole Taylor Bank.

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The firm provides verified appraisals and immediate replacement coverage by HDI global, an A-rated insurance carrier, according to a press release.

“As a third-generation jeweler, my family and I have a long history delighting customers and helping them celebrate moments of joy in their lives,” said Dustin Lemick, BriteCo founder and CEO.

“But the jewelry buyer is changing rapidly. Millennials now represent the largest jewelry buying demographic, and their expectations are different from those of prior generations. BriteCo helps jewelers by providing them with the optimal blend of online convenience and personal attention.”

Lemick and his family have owned and operated retail jewelry locations in the Chicagoland area for over 60 years.

BriteCo explains that its coverage has no deductible, automatically updates protection each year using advanced price analytics and predictive models, and offers a streamlined claims experience. It also “offers an easy to use, cloud-based Appraisal Management System (AMS) that is faster and more accurate than the jewelry industry’s traditional manual processes,” according to the release.

“What Dustin and his team have accomplished in such a short period of time is amazing,” said Jeff Taylor, one of the company’s investors. “Getting BriteCo licensed in virtually every state before officially launching is a testament to their hard work and the professionalism with which they’re approaching this big challenge.

“I’m excited to be a part of their push to modernize the jewelry insurance and appraisal process and to help millions of people across the US protect their most valuable possessions.”

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Fugitive Jeweler Arrested in $2B Fraud Case

India is seeking to extradite him.

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Nirav Modi, the billionaire jeweler who’s suspected in a $2 billion fraud case in India, has been arrested in London, The Telegraph reports.

He was arrested on behalf of Indian authorities, and he appeared Westminster Magistrates’ Court to fight extradition to India, according to the newspaper.

In court, he “spoke only to confirm his details and to refuse to submit to extradition” related to embezzlement allegations, The Telegraph reports.

He’s due in court again on March 29.

Modi had been staying in a high-dollar apartment in London’s West End, according to the newspaper.

Last year, The New York Times described Modi as being “on the run” and noted that figuring out his location had become something of a “national pastime” in India.

He remained at-large despite Interpol’s issuance of a reed notice for his arrest in July, according to The Telegraph.

Modi is at the center of a fraud case involving Punjab National Bank, where employees are “suspected to have steered fraudulent loans” to Modi’s businesses, Reuters has reported.

Modi has apparently been involved in a new new diamond business in the UK, according to The Telegraph.

Read more at The Telegraph

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This 13-Carat Pink Diamond Just Sold for $8.7M+

The sale represents a dollar-per-carat price of $656,933.

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Gem Diamonds Ltd. announced that a 13.33 carat pink diamond recovered at the Letšeng mine in February has been sold for $8.75 million.

The sale represents a dollar-per-carat price of $656,933.

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That’s a record for a Letšeng diamond, according to a press release from Gem. The company owns both the Letšeng diamond mine in Lesotho and the Ghaghoo mine in Botswana.

The diamond sold on tender in Antwerp. Gem did not reveal the identity of the buyer.

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Yahoo Finance reports that Gem mined about 127,000 carats of diamonds last year.

That amounts to under 1 percent of the worldwide total, making the company a relatively small player compared to industry titans such as Alrosa and De Beers.

 

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