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INSTORE Editor Trace Shelton to Present at IAC’s Gold Conference

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He’ll be part of two events.

INSTORE Editor-in-Chief Trace Shelton will be part of two panel presentations at Initiatives in Art & Culture’s Seventh Annual Gold Conference, which is being held April 26-28 in New York.

The first presentation, scheduled for 11:20 a.m. to 12:10 p.m. April 27, is called “Cutting Through the Noise: Differentiating Between Editorial and Advertorial in Social Media.” Other members of the panel will be Barbara Palumbo, founder of Adornmentality.com; Mark Smelzer, publisher of JCK magazine and JCKonline.com; and Monica Stephenson, founder of idazzle. The moderator will be Peggy Jo Donahue, owner of Donahue Communications.

The second, set for 2-2:50 p.m. April 28, is called “Story Telling: The Importance of Narrative in Today’s Jewelry Market.” Other members of the panel will be Wendy Brandes, jewelry designer; Brandee Dallow, director, North America representative office — diamonds sales and marketing, Rio Tinto; Orin J. Mazzoni III, director, “Sharing the Rough”; Melissa Quick, president, Steve Quick Jeweler; and Steve Quick, CEO and founder, Steve Quick Jeweler. The moderator will be Andrea Hill, founder and CEO, Hill Management Group LLC.

“Each year, Initiatives in Art & Culture takes a 360-degree approach to the consideration of gold in keeping with our cross-disciplinary approach,” said Lisa Koenigsberg, president of Initiatives in Art & Culture. We are delighted to work with the leading figures from throughout the world to present comprehensive information from the historical, to the predictive, to that which captures the here and now.”

She added: “In the Seventh Annual Gold Conference, we address the ‘Magic of Gold.’ Throughout the ages to this very day, this material has had an extraordinary impact on our culture, our economy, and our creativity. The 15 presentations offered at this event by some of the most interesting and authorative individuals in their fields explores that power and how they see it changing our future.”

Other presentation highlights will include:

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“Transforming Retail,” a conversation with Andrea Hansen, founder, LuxeIntelligence; Jim Tuttle, founder and president, Green Lake Jewelry Works; and Mickey Alam Khan, founder and editor-in-chief, Luxury Daily.

“The Golden Menagerie: A Creative Journey,” a presentation by Jewelry Designer Temple St. Clair.

“Regulatory Restrictions: Advocacy for and by Jewelers, Retailers, and Manufacturers,” Linus Drogs, owner and president, AU Enterprises; Mark Hanna, chief marketing officer, Richline Group Inc.; Susan Thea Posnock, director of public affairs and education, Jewelers of America; Sarah Yood, senior counsel, Jewelers Vigilance Committee. The moderator will be Peggy Jo Donahue, owner, Donahue Communications.

“Heritage, Traditional Methods, and New World Education: Goldsmith’s Hall and Goldsmith’s Center – Bringing Jewelers Into the 21st Century,” a presentation by David Mills, director of communications and marketing, Goldsmiths’ Company.

Sponsors include Signet Jewelers, Richline Group Ltd., Hoover & Strong, AU Enterprises, Freeman’s, the Society of North American Goldsmiths, Republic Metals Corp. and Unleashed. Events are hosted by Reinstein/Ross, Goldsmiths and Aaron Faber Gallery.

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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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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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