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Jeweler Sentenced to Prison for Dealing Drugs from Store

He’s been ordered to spend two-and-half years behind bars.

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A former jewelry-store owner in Wisconsin has been sentenced to prison for dealing methamphetamine from his store, along with other drug charges, the Post Crescent reports.

Michael Witzke, who owned Knights Jewelry in Appleton, has been ordered to spend two-and-half years behind bars.

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Also part of his sentence is five years of extended supervision.

Witzke pleaded “no contest” in August to eight criminal counts, including methamphetamine delivery.

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Knights Jewelry closed in February 2017 when Witzke was arrested.

Peter Hahn, assistant attorney general, said Witzke had a significant criminal history extending back to 1985 “with a conviction for homicide due to intoxicated use of a vehicle,” the Post Crescent reports.

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Read more at the Post Crescent

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Fashion Jewelry Chain to Close All 261 Stores

3,000 employees could lose their jobs.

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Jewelry and accessories retailer Charming Charlie is closing all of its 261 stores in connection with its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filed July 11.

Bloomberg reports that over 3,000 full- and -part-time workers could lose their jobs.

The bankruptcy filing is Charming Charlie’s second in the past two year, Bloomberg reports.

Store closing sales are being conducted by a joint venture consisting of Hilco Merchant Resources and SB360 Capital Partners, according to a press release.

Charming Charlie operates in 38 states. A full list of closing stores is available here.

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The liquidation is expected to take two months.

The company’s debt totals $82 million, according to Bloomberg. Its cash on hand amounted to only $6,000  as of the bankruptcy filing.

Charming Charlie is a Houston-based specialty retailer focused on fashion jewelry, handbags, apparel, gifts and beauty products.

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Serena Williams Wears the Most Unusual Ear Jewelry in Harper’s Bazaar Feature

Can you even call it an earring?

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A new Serena Williams feature in Harper’s Bazaar is sure to attract attention.

The tennis player insisted that the photos be unretouched, and the cover shot features her mostly exposed backside.

But what might be most interesting to jewelers is the unique ear ornament she wore in one of the photos. We’re not even sure you can call this Gucci accessory an earring.

Could this over-the-ear look catch on?

INSTORE style writer Becky Stone doesn’t think so, although she likes the concept.

“I can hear the siren song of this piece! It takes the concept of jewelry adorning the body and elevates it by having the jewel actually become the body,” Stone said. “The look is surprising, sensual, and playful – an appealing combination. Serena looks like she might be a golden robot from the future, and I’m into it.

“That being said, I think there are a lot of practical barriers to the gilded ear’s mainstream appeal. Can she hear? Is her ear sweaty? How does that thing even stay on? I imagine it would have to be custom fitted, which is probably enough to price it out of the possibility of true street style success. I’d be very interested to see a scaled down version: maybe a smaller cuff that fits over just the upper cartilage, or a closely fitted lobe piece that’s anchored with a post for wearability.”

Beth Bernstein, also an INSTORE style writer, also felt the look was unlikely to take off.

“It might work for an editorial shoot or a runway show, but I don’t believe it will ever make it as a trend for even the high-end,” she said. “It kind of looks like the ‘Joker’s Mask’ for the ear.”

Jewelry professionals posting in our INSTORE Community group on Facebook had a variety of reactions.

Deirdre Crosse of Cipher Gems wrote, “Serena Williams requires an extraordinary design for it to register with the viewer. It’s a bold choice of adornment for strong subject.”

Deric Metzger, owner of DeMer Jewelry, commented, “This is the ear climber trend taken to its maximum natural conclusion and it’s every bit as unpleasant as I imagined.”

Other jewelry that Williams wore for the photoshoot included Cartier earrings, a Bulgari bracelet, a David Yurman bracelet and chain and an Audemars Piguet watch.

The photos appear with an essay penned by Williams about standing up for herself and becoming the strong woman, athlete and mother she is today. The issue will be available on newsstands July 23.

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Jewelry Retail Chain to Repay Workers Up to $17.5M

A review found that they were underpaid.

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Australia-based jewelry retailer Michael Hill plans to pay staff members up to a total of $25 million AUD (US $17.5 million) to make up for underpayments that occurred over several years.

The review was initiated by CEO Daniel Bracken and conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, Yahoo Finance reports. The review found a “historic misapplication” of the retail industry award rate, mandated by Australia’s federal government, for some staff members in Australia.

Rapaport News quoted Bracken saying, “When we identified there was an issue, I mobilized a team, supported by independent external experts, to determine the scale of the problem, identify the individuals affected, and to ensure full compliance with the award going forward.

“We will move as quickly as possible to rectify any underpayments with those team members affected.”

The total cost of the repayment is expected to be between AUD $10 million and AUD $25 million, according to Yahoo Finance.

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Michael Hill has about 2,600 employees in 312 stores throughout Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

The company announced in April 2018 that it was closing its nine U.S. stores after failing to find a buyer for them.

Read more at Yahoo Finance

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