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IJO Still Strong in Antwerp

The group recently wrapped up its Fall Buying Trips.

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(PRESS RELEASE) SOUTHPORT, CT — The Independent Jewelers Organization (IJO) recently wrapped up its Fall Buying Trips after more than 44 years of offering escorted excursions twice yearly for its members, and the program shows no signs of slowing down. According to IJO President and CEO Jeff Roberts, “I remember we started out by booking a week in the spring and another in the fall and now we offer two weeks of trips in April and five in October. Our members have found this to be an invaluable marketing tool.”

About 90 IJO stores – more than 180 people – traveled to the diamond capital of the world in October 2019 alone and 14 stores were first-timers while others were veterans of 18, 38, 42 and even 57 trips. “Because we know our Antwerp marketing program is a tried and true winner, we offer an incentive for first-time attendees of one free land package,” stated Penny Palmer, IJO’s director of member services. “This covers five nights at the Mercure City Centre hotel, transfers from and to Brussels airport, all breakfasts, plus our generous diamond suppliers cover our beverages at 3 dinners. Then after their return all travelers receive a check for an additional $300 to cover various expenses.”

Becky Beck Ryan from Becky Beck’s Jewelry in DeKalb, IL, made her 38th voyage. “When I made the decision to take advantage of this remarkable marketing tool IJO presented, I committed to it completely, going twice a year beginning in the Spring of 2000. IJO’s mantra was, ‘If you go to Antwerp twice a year, in the minds of your customers, you’ll always be going to Antwerp’. This is what I’ve done and I think going twice a year is key to this program. Some will argue pricing advantage and I say ‘Bah’ – I establish a comfortable budget, based on acceptable delivery expectation, and sell the selection and pick process. That budget and those expectations will be exceeded, in some way, when I deliver their diamonds.”

“I’ve been going to Antwerp with IJO for more than 30 years,” reported Todd Murray, Murray’s Jewelers, Muncie, IN, “and it’s always been good every year. And it’s still getting better. My best year to date was 25-28 pre-sold diamonds, but this fall I was able to top that with 37 pre-sales for $164,000. To be honest, it was a little overwhelming, but by working really efficiently I was able to fill all the calls. This program has had such a positive effect on my image in my community.”

Connie Thurmond from Connie & V. Cross Jewelers in Bossier City, LA offered, “We’ve enjoyed 18 years of diamond buying from some of the top suppliers in the world. We have traveled half away around the globe to make many of our customers so proud that they received a beautiful diamond from the enchanted lands of Antwerp! IJO makes this adventure such a success for all that take part in this magical journey.”

Shown here are Connie Thurmond and Verlon Cross from Connie & V. Cross Jewelers in Bossier City, LA.

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Brian & Theresa McLean from Simone’s Jewelry in Shrewsbury, NJ, were first-timers last month. According to Brian, “We really enjoyed it — the comradery is something I really relish. As for the business end, the selection of diamonds is something I wasn’t prepared for. After 29 years in business I feel like I have found an excellent new source for my customers and an added shot of adrenaline for my business. Thanks for helping us make the decision to go!”

Dave Spalding from Timmreck & McNicol Jewelers in McMinnville, OR, recently returned from his 57th trip. “It’s pretty simple,” Dave said. “My first trip was Spring of ’91. I skipped the next one in Fall, but thereafter went each season for a total of 57. We have had a low of $16,000 in pre-sales and a high of $157,000 in the spring of ’96. We have averaged approximately $35,000 in spring and $55,000 in fall and believe we have had about $3 million in presales over that period. This program has jump-started our Diamond business to such an extent that it is integral to what our store does.”

Dave Spaulding with his daughter Jean on his 56th Antwerp trip.

IJO’s program instructs members on how to pre-sell diamonds before they leave home. People are skeptical – at first – but soon learn the program works. “We give members the tools to be successful,” Roberts added. “There’s a romance to traveling so far to hand-select the perfect diamond from a mountain of inventory — and inventory was strong this fall – no one had trouble filling their needs! I and some of my staff have been there countless times but we never tire of it. We love sharing the excitement!”

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Diamonds Do Good Announces Winners of 2nd Annual Millennial-Focused Proposal Contest

Finalists to be flown to Canada to see the real impact of natural diamonds.

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(PRESS RELEASE) In recognition of Valentine’s Day, Diamonds Do Good announced the winners of the second annual ‘Real Stories. Real Diamonds. Real Impact’ video proposal contest. A third year of the proposal contest is now being planned.

The winning couple of this year’s contest, Nicole and Isaiah, hail from North Carolina and were engaged during a trip to Ireland. “I love simple and natural… surrounded by the natural beauty of Ireland, the natural beauty of the diamond and my beautiful fiancé, our proposal story is one I will never get tired of telling” says Nicole.

Nicole and Isaiah will experience the natural beauty of the Northwest Territories of Canada, the third largest producer of natural diamonds. There they will see firsthand the impact natural, mined diamonds have had on the country and to share their experiences through social media.

Videos were judged by digital media influencers @thediamondsgirl, @weddingdiary and @roamaroo with combined followers numbering over 2,000,000.

“The contest is helping boost consumer understanding of the real, positive impact for communities of natural, mined diamonds,” says Executive Committee member Rebecca Foerster, president of Alrosa USA.

D.E.F President, Anna Martin, senior vice president of GIA, echoes, “Educating the younger generation on the good diamonds do and inviting them to engage in this narrative will help boost consumer confidence in, and ultimately demand for, diamonds.”

The winning video can be seen on DiamondsDoGood.com/myproposalcontest.

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Jewelers Block Insurance Specialists Surya and AIB Merge

The combined businesses will continue under the Surya and AIB names.

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(PRESS RELEASE) NEW YORK — Surya Insurance Services, LLC is merging with Associated Insurance International Brokers Inc (AIB). The combined businesses will continue under the Surya and AIB names, both offering jewelers block insurance and other specialized insurance for the diamond and jewelry industry. Janak Dave will continue as Surya CEO and AIB founder Elan Manham will join Surya as President.

“The combined strength of the two companies will allow Surya to continue to grow to provide even better service to all of our customers,” Dave says. “In addition to growing our jewelers block insurance business, we plan to offer more insurance products specifically tailored to the needs of the industry’s top diamond and jewelry professionals, including covering the risks of rough processing, repolishing and the setting of important diamonds and gemstones.”

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Surya Insurance Services is dedicated to serving the insurance needs of the diamond and jewelry industry. Surya was founded in New York in 2005 by Surya Capital to serve the diamond and jewelry industry. AIB was founded by Elan Manham in 1993 to provide jewelry and diamond wholesalers and retailers with Jewelers Block Insurance.

“The financial strength of Surya will give us better relationships with underwriters and enable us to better serve our customers and offer enhanced coverage,” Elan Manham says. “I look forward to working with the Surya team to grow the business.”

The combined companies will be able to provide A+ rated custom insurance solutions tailored to the individual needs of each client, including on premises, in transit, worldwide travel, trade and trunk show, unattended auto, bank vault and memo coverage.

Surya and AIB customers include more than 300 diamond wholesalers, jewelry manufacturers, jewelry retailers, pawnbrokers, and fine arts dealers, from small independent companies to some of the world’s most important diamond sightholders.

For more information about Surya and AIB insurance products and services, contact a specialist at 800-242-7766 or visit www.suryains.com.

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Fortuna Completes First Sale of New Decade

It featured a diamond that brought $40,625.

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(PRESS RELEASE) On February 6, 2020, Fortuna held its first sale of the new decade with exciting results that set the NY-based jewelry and watch auction house apart from current jewelry sale trends. The Fine Jewels sale offered a well-rounded selection of fine estate diamond jewelry and designer pieces, and achieved a nearly 70% sell-through rate—a great feat for this time of year.

The sale brought in bidders and consigners from around the world, featuring items consigned from countries like Spain, and bids coming all the way from Kuwait. It was also the first of Fortuna’s auctions to be streamed live on Facebook, highlighting the boutique auction house’s global reach.

Among the sale highlights sold was a 4.13-Carat Emerald-Cut Loose Diamond. This fine diamond came accompanied by a GIA diamond report stating the stone as possessing G color and VVS1 clarity. This particular diamond, which any jeweler would be thrilled to turn into an engagement ring, achieved $40,625 at auction. Most of the important stones in this sale came with a GIA certificate, which industry insiders trust as the ultimate stamp of verification of quality.

The sale also featured rarely seen designs, like that of a Tiffany & Co. Aquamarine Morganite and Diamond Drop Necklace. The piece, which was the property of a lady, had never been worn and was in excellent condition. The stunning lot which was crafted in platinum in a spectacular cascading design, achieved an impressive $30,000 at auction—more than double its starting bid.

Upcoming Fortuna Auction Sales

The next Fine Jewels auction on Fortuna’s calendar is set for March 19 at 1PM EDT, and is still accepting consignments. If you have jewelry or watches you would like to submit for auction, visit our website at www.FortunaAuction.com or call our office at (212)389-9040 for a free valuation.

Tiffany Co. Morganite Aquamarine Necklace

4.13ct Emerald Cut Loose Diamond

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