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Lightbox Jewelry To Be Rolled Out to Retailers Within Next Two Years

The consumer launch was more successful than anticipated.

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LAS VEGAS — A year after De Beers rocked the JCK Las Vegas show by introducing Lightbox, its own lab-grown diamond jewelry, Lightbox managing director Steve Coe returned to the show with the news that the consumer launch was more successful than anticipated.

Lightbox pieces, which are lab-grown diamonds set in accessibly priced fashion jewelry, have been sold since September online and in pop-up shops.

Coe announced that he expects to begin market testing the brand in retail stores later 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 says extensive consumer research has backed up the De Beers belief that laboratory-grown diamonds are best suited as fashion accessories for everyday wear, and not for significant occasions, such as engagement, for which consumers say they prefer natural diamonds.

In keeping with this philosophy, Lightbox does not plan to manufacture lab-grown diamonds that are larger than 1 carat. Lightbox jewelry will continue to be priced from $200 to $1,000 with a set price of $800 per carat. Settings are an additional $100 for sterling silver or $200 for 10K gold. De Beers currently offers Lightbox lab-grown diamonds in light pink and blue as well as in white. Although consumers surveyed by De Beers do initially seem confused when asked about lab-grown diamonds, continuing research has found they also are open-minded about purchasing them.

Lightbox surveys indicate that 98 percent of women are satisfied with the purchase once they own them. Young women are open to lab-grown diamonds, but are willing to pay more of a premium price for natural diamonds. The purchase of Lightbox jewelry is considered to be in the same category as a handbag or a premium pair of sneakers, Coe says.

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Email has been the best driver of sales; it tends to hasten conversion and lead to repeat purchases. Ten percent of shoppers who make a purchase have returned to make a second. Consumer conversion to purchase has been very rapid and more like the speed at which shoppers choose to purchase cosmetics and accessories than fine jewelry.

Currently, the biggest sellers are 1 carat solitaire earrings.

Coe also addressed general industry concerns on the topic of laboratory-grown diamonds.

TRANSPARENCY: De Beers laser inscribes each of its lab-grown diamonds of .2 carat size and larger, and would encourage other manufacturers to do the same.

GRADING: De Beers does not grade lab-grown gems because, Coe says, each manufactured diamond is of the same consistently high quality. He compared them to cars that come off a production line. Why would one be considered “better” than another if all of them are built under the same conditions?

TREATMENT: Although Lightbox lab-created diamonds are not treated beyond the process it takes to make them, De Beers takes the position that if a lab-grown diamond is treated to enhance its color, that treatment does not need to be disclosed. “This is nonsense,” he says. “This is a manufactured product. Color treatment is just another stage in the production process.”

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PRICING: Pricing structure is and should be very different than the pricing of natural diamonds, Coe says. Lightbox’s pricing simply reflects the cost of making them. “With natural diamonds, you have to take what nature gives you, so of course, larger stones are much more valuable than smaller,” he says. Among lab grown diamonds, a 1 carat lab grown is not more rare than a half carat. Either can be made to order. But the cost of producing a 1 carat lab grown diamond is roughly twice the cost of producing a half carat lab grown diamond, so that is how Lightbox determined its $800 per carat pricing structure.

Eileen McClelland is the Managing Editor of INSTORE. She believes that every jewelry store has the power of cool within them.

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David Brown

Here’s How to Succeed at Succession Planning

Be sure to consider these four areas to prevent unnecessary conflict.

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MONEY CAN BE A sensitive topic to talk about. Generally, people don’t like to discuss it even in the privacy of their own home. Yet, not talking about your financial situation can make a significant difference in how much of your wealth is passed on to other family members. Whether it’s a business being passed on or the wealth that it has created, careful planning is required.
Government legislation is constantly evolving in this area. It’s important to set up for the passing of wealth and to ensure this is compliant with the current laws.

Here are some things to consider:

1. Inform family members of what may be coming their way. Give them the opportunity to prepare for the financial impact an inheritance may have. More than one family has been undermined by a sudden arrival of wealth they didn’t expect and couldn’t handle. Such preparation can help them to plan their ownership and tax structures to handle it effectively.

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2. Be sure to involve key stakeholders. Be selective about who is involved in the decision-making process, the administration and the final beneficiaries. The process can be daunting and potentially alienate family members and cause unnecessary conflict.

3. Ensure a single unified vision. Particularly where parents are concerned, it’s important to ensure a consistent message is communicated about the ongoing management of the family business. If there is to be a successor, there needs to be an agreed upon approach as to who it will be and how it will be handled.

4. Don’t wait too long to pass on ownership and responsibility. If the business is to go to the next generation, a grooming process is recommended to ensure the transition is smooth and the successor has done their “time.” You should always be prepared for an unexpected event that may speed this process up faster than you intended — it’s better to be over-prepared in this area than under-prepared.

Whether a business is being passed on or the wealth that the business has created, it’s important that the vision is clearly communicated regarding how the legacy will be passed onto future generations. Sharing this vision can be an effective means of making sure the succession plan goes as smoothly as possible.

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Dave Richardson

Here’s Why Having a Mirror on Your Counter Is So Critical

It’s not just vanity.

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WHY IT IS TRUE: This gives her an opportunity to immediately see how the beautiful piece of jewelry looks on her.

PLAN OF ACTION: Take this opportunity to observe her reaction, ask open-ended questions to reveal her feelings, and move for the close accordingly.

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David Brown

Why You Need to Talk to Your CPA ASAP

A conversation and some planning today can minimize your tax burden tomorrow.

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A CONVERSATION WITH YOUR CPA now can help minimize your tax burden later.

With the end of the financial year fast approaching, now is a good time to start thinking about your end-of-year financial results. No one wants to pay tax, and certainly no one wants to pay any more than they must. Tax evasion is a criminal act that will see you finish up in court. Tax minimization, however, is a perfectly legitimate way of keeping your tax to the most you’re required to pay.

Too often businesses wait until the financial year has ended, determine their financial result, then wonder how they can reduce their tax bill. This can be a little like closing the gate after the horse has bolted. Many tax minimization strategies can be implemented before the end of the financial year, and now is a good time to talk to your CPA about some possible approaches.

Much of this strategy can revolve around the expenses you might be planning to claim. Larger investments in assets can often have their cost apportioned over several years, and there can be an advantage, if you are planning to make this investment, in undertaking it before the end of the financial year.

Another aspect to discuss with your CPA is how income is allocated. It’s important to take advantage of different tax rates for owners and partners in a business. Again, this decision sometimes needs to be made before the financial year has ended to avoid making retrospective decisions that may be frowned upon by the IRS.

Before you talk to your CPA, try to have a handle on how your financial year is going, as this will make a difference to what they may recommend. Your accountant will want to know how the year is tracking and what performance you are budgeting on for the last month of the year. Obviously, some constructive estimating, especially around the busy December period, will be needed. Your CPA will then be able to best advise you of what actions will help your financial year-end before the 31st of December.

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