Alex Fetanat’s Latest Post: Piguet’s Court Case

Recently, A watch company has been ordered to pay luxury watchmaker Audemars Piguet more than $9 million in damages for selling a watch that was deemed to be a knockoff of Audemars’ “Royal Oak.”

Royal Oak

A Royal Oak watch, which sells for upwards of $15,000 and is frequently subject to knockoffs.

According to court papers, New York District Court Judge Harold Baer Jr. ruled on Monday in favor of  Piguet in a lawsuit against Swiss Watch International Inc. (SWI) and executive Lior Ben-Shmuel. In the suit,  Piguet claimed that the defendants’ recently-released Swiss Legend Trimix watches, which were sold for less than $250, were too similar in design to the Royal Oak, an extremely expensive watch that has been around since the 1970s and sells for more than $15,000.

In his ruling, which followed a four-day bench trial in June, Judge Baer sided with Piguet, noting that the “similarities between these watches remains striking.”

He awarded damages totaling $9.8 million in the case, noting that it is “more likely than not that defendants intentionally used plaintiffs’ marks with the knowledge that these marks were counterfeit,” court papers state.  Nonetheless, SWI claims that it “respectfully disagrees” with the court’s ruling, and plan on appealing the verdict.

Several times, Baer noted that SWI continued to both sell and profit from its Trimix watches, even after they were confronted at the 2011 Baselworld show and received a cease-and-desist letter from Audemars Piguet in May 2012.

In addition to damages, SWI has been permanently enjoined from selling the Swiss Legend Trimix and must recall any inventory from other retailers.

This is not the first time Audemars Piguet has gone to court to protect the Royal Oak.  In October, Piguet settled a trademark infringement suit with Tommy Hilfiger USA Inc. and Movado Group Inc. over Hilfiger’s Eton watch.  In addition, fashion brand Michael Kors took an allegedly infringing watch off the market after Piguet confronted them.

via Alex Fetanat http://alexfetanat.org/piguets-court-case/

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Lego Watches for a Good Cause

Alex Fetanat’s newest blog post:

 

Over 75% of households contain Legos.  It is quite possible you have vacuumed up a Lego character, had a Lego tower building contest with a family member or even felt the ridiculous pain after stepping on a Lego brick.

Legos are such a common occurrence in our lives that the brand is recognized across the world.  In 1996, a wonderful idea was comprised to create a watch out of Legos.  Soon the watch took off as a holiday gift and became a staple as such for years to come.

One New York jeweler is taking this staple to the next level.  From now until December 21, if you get a Lego watch at Northeastern Fine Jewelry in Albany, New York, the store will donate another Lego watch to the Boys & Girls Club.

Northeastern Fine Jewelry has acknowledged their love for the Lego watch in a number of ways.  They have stated it is a fun gift that also helps a child tell time from an analog watch.

The watch has many colors and an easy clip buckle that children should have no problem with.  The store is selling them for $25.

Donations from the buy one give one promotion will go to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Albany and neighboring Schenectady.  They will be handed out to children in need during the holiday season by a nonprofit organization.

Northeastern Fine Jewelry President Ray Bleser is happy to contribute to the Boys & Girls Clubs.  “During the holiday season, it is important for us all to give back to our communities.” Bleser says.

 

via Alex Fetanat http://alexfetanat.net/lego-watches-for-a-good-cause/

Alex Fetanat’s Latest Post: Laurence Graff’s Underground Lair

Graff Diamonds

The diamond brand that has taken the world by storm

Recently, famed jeweler Laurence Graff was interviewed by the New York Times at the Frieze art fair in London, collecting pieces of modern art (his second greatest passion after jewelry).  During the interview, the self-styled “King of Diamonds” shared some anecdotes about his 60 years of experience working with jewelry.  Recently decorated with the Order of the British Empire, over the course of his career, over the years he’s brushed shoulders with such names as Elizabeth Taylor, Madame Marcos and the Brunei royal family.

Laurence Graff

Laurence Graff, the face of jewelry.

But one of Mr. Graff’s more interesting stories is one about his company’s mysterious workshop, hidden deep underground in London’s fashionable and elegant Mayfair district.  Very few people may enter this closely-guarded secret, protected by vault doors and an elaborate security system.  According to the workshop’s manager, Raymond Graff (a brother of Laurence), this is the probably the largest jewelry workshop in Europe.  The workshop is extremely choosy about who they take on; they need to have a passion for jewelry and a willingness to always be learning.  Some of the most high-quality jewelry pieces in the world come from this top-secret underground location.  Down below, in an air-temperature-controlled space, jewelers wear white lab coats.  While much of the work that they do is by hand, there is also high-tech electronic equipment, which scans and works out designs, complementing some more traditional techniques that originated in the Renaissance.

The combination of traditional and modern techniques allows Graff’s jewelry-making business to make meaningful, interesting pieces of jewelry while also being precise.  Graff makes an effort to ensure that the jewelry pieces his workers use are of a flawless quality, and with a traditional, translucent beauty.  This combination has made Graff one of the most well-known names in the jewelry business.

via Alex Fetanat http://alexfetanat.org/laurence-graffs-underground-lair/

Alex Fetanat’s Latest Post: A Highly Expensive Golconda Diamond

On December 10 at Christie’s New York, a 52.58 carat D color, internally flawless Golconda diamond is expected to sell for up to $12.5 million.  The diamond comes from the Golconda mines in south central India, where the legendary “Hope Diamond” was also found.  Diamonds from these mines are of a specific type and color, and have the one of the highest degrees of transparency.  In the words of the auction house, this specific octagonal-cut stone features “superior luminance, luster and distinct brilliance”.

Golconda mines

Miners hard at work in the Golconda mines, where this diamond, along with many other famous stones, originated.

This isn’t the first time that Golconda diamonds have reached high auction prices.  Just this April, a 34.65-carat “Princie Diamond” was sold for $39.3 million.  This diamond set new world auction records for the most valuable diamond ever sold in the United States.

It is expected that Christie’s December 10th auction of Magnificent Jewels will total more than $45 million.  The 500-lot sale will also include colored and colorless diamonds, rare gemstones, natural pearls and signed jewels.  Other valuable goods to check out at the auction include a diamond pendant necklace featuring a 22.12-carat pear-shaped diamond, expected to sell for as much as $3.5 million.  Another necklace, made from 18-karat white gold and featuring a 91.38-carat Burmese sapphire, has a pre-sale estimate of $1.2 million.

According to Rahul Kadakia, head of jewelry for Christie’s Americas and Switzerland, 201 has been a record-breaking year for jewelry auctions around the world.  In addition to the Princie Diamond sold in April, a 14.82-carat diamond affectionally known as “the orange” sold for $35 million in Geneva earlier this month.

via Alex Fetanat http://alexfetanat.org/super-expensive-golconda-diamond/

Jewelry from Space?

According to a recent discovery, some 5,000 year-old Egyptian jewelry was made from meteorites that fell on Earth from space.  The beads, the oldest known iron artifacts in the world, were created a full 2,000 years before Egypt’s actual Iron Age.  The tube-shaped beads were first discovered in a tomb unearthed in 1911 near the remote village of el-Gerzeh.  The tomb, which belonged to a teenage boy, held this jewelry, iron beads strung together into a necklace.  The beads’ makeup had curiously high concentrations of nickel, a sign of iron meteorites.  

At first, people assumed that these beads were manmade.  However, by scanning the beads with beams of neutrons and gamma rays,  they were revealed to contain a high concentration of cobalt, phosphorous and germanium, which only occurs in iron meteorites.  The X-ray technology also revealed that the beads had been hammered into thin sheets, and then meticulously rolled into tubes.  Working with solid iron requires repeatedly heating metals to red-hot temperatures and then hammering them into shape, an extremely elaborate operation for a 5,000 year-old society.  This reveals that at this early age in human history, people were already capable of blacksmithing, and shows pretty advanced skill working with what was such a difficult material.  

This isn’t the only ancient artifact made from space-metal, however.  Last year, for instance, German scientists discovered a Buddha statue on the Russian-Mongolian border carved from a meteorite between the eighth and tenth centuries.  

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Will 3D Printing Revolutionize Jewelry Biz?

Alex Fetanat’s newest blog post:

3D Printed Jewelry

3D printing is already influencing the jewelry industry.

3D printing technology has been in the news more and more frequently over the last few years.  Many experts believe that 3D printing will revolutionize many industries, particularly manufacturing and medicine.  In theory, once 3D printing becomes affordable and a bit easier to use, consumers could replicate household items like replacement doorknobs, bannisters, other rare or unique parts.  From a less practical perspective, users could also create artwork and other original three dimensional items that in the past would have been relegated to their mind’s eye.  3D printing technology is already having a significant effect on the medical industry and experts believe it is poised to become even more influential as it progresses.

With 3D printing becoming more popular and more practical, the jewelry business should be asking one question – will 3D printing change how jewelry is made?  If you’re looking for evidence in the affirmative, check out Shapeways Jewelry blog.  Shapeways, a New York City based startup allows customers to upload their own designs and then 3D prints them into physical existence.  There are tons of jewelry examples which begs the question, how far will the trend of consumers creating their own jewelry go?  Sites like Etsy have enabled small jewelry makers to sell their products without setting up a complex distribution arm.  Perhaps 3D printing jewelry is the next step in empowering the micro jewelry business.

While 3D printing of jewelry probably won’t replace jewelry created by expert craftsmen, it could snap up a decent niche of the business.  There is a lot of potential to reach people who are trying to give truly unique gifts.  What could be more meaningful than a gift designed by the giver and with no other copies?  It could also have implications for artists and craftsmen who  have design ideas but do not have to means to mass produce their creations.

The nascent 3D printing business has only just begun to take off so there are sure to be even greater unseen implications for almost every industry, including jewelry.  It will definitely be an area for jewelers to keep their collective eye on.

Thanks for coming by.  Stop back soon for more news and developments in the world of jewelry.

via Alex Fetanat http://alexfetanat.net/will-3d-printing-revolutionize-jewelry-biz/

Stretching Your Online Marketing Dollars

Alex Fetanat’s newest blog post:

Online Marketing Dollars

Don’t throw your online marketing dollars away. Make sure you have a gameplan before spending any money.

Every business owner knows that the marketing arm of your business can be as important to success as the actual product or service your provide.  The jewelry business is no exception.  Most jewelers know that coherent online marketing campaign can make or break your business.  Knowing that you should be focusing on online marketing is one thing.  Having the time and money to actually do it is quite another.  A recent Forbes.com article talks about some of the best ways to stretch your online marketing dollars to get the best ROI.  Let’s talk about some of the highlights.

An oft overlooked aspect of running a small business is market research.  The term sounds like something reserved for Fortune 500′s and network television broadcasters, but it doesn’t have to be as overwhelming as it sounds.  Before you commit any money to an online marketing campaign, do some simple market research on your own.  How?  Talk to your customers.  Find out who is using your product or service.  Is it men over 40?  Women between 18-49?  This will help guide you when you do decide to spend money on online marketing or advertising.  Philadelphia department store John Wanamaker famously said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”  This is a problem that advertisers great and small are dealing with decades later, but doing your due diligence in learning about your customers can help you mitigate waste and target high percentage customers.

Actually using social media accounts is another way to get low-cost exposure.  You’re probably thinking, “Isn’t social media free?”  Well, yes and no.  Using sites like Facebook and Twitter organically doesn’t cost money but it does cost time.  Make sure when you decide to create a social media page that you have to time and energy to maintenance it consistently.  You should be updating regularly, and not just with self promotion.  To engage with potential customers you’ll want to provide information about your industry in general in addition to information about your product or service.  This will show your social media followers that you are an expert in your field and are legitimately sharing your knowledge without the expectation of a purchase.

Another pitfall of online marketing is lack of goals.  You may decide to start running a Facebook ad campaign, start a blog, make your Twitter more active, and kickoff a search engine optimization campaign.  If you live and die by the “buckshot” approach, you may look back in a month or two and say “what did I accomplish?”  That question will be extremely difficult to answer if you never decided what your goals were to begin with.  Do you want to generate leads?  Create a stronger brand?  Get exposure?  Associate with a cause?  Whatever it may be, make sure you decide your goal before you spend any money on online marketing or advertising.

These are just a few of Forbes’ great tips for getting the most out of your online marketing budget.  Take a look at the full article for all seven.  Thanks for reading and feel free to stop by soon for more news and information on online marketing and the jewelry business.

via Alex Fetanat http://alexfetanat.net/stretching-your-online-marketing-dollars/