Is Fortunoff Going Chapter 11?

According to a report today in Newsday the answer is Yes for this retail jewelry icon.

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Observations from retail experts are that its Fortunoff, The Source stores are struggling to keep up its inventory. The red flags were obvious after the first of the month, said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst for The NPD Group in Port Washington. Fortunoff, which typically replenishes its post-holiday stock quickly and with the latest items, had large holes in its selection in its flagship Westbury store.

Overall, several Retail Jewelers have reported major problems this past Holiday Season.

1. Freedmans – Chap 11.
2. Omega – Chap 11.
3. Derco – Chap 11.
4. Zales – Reduced sales and store closings
5. Tiffany’s – Reported only a 2% sales increase in the 4th Quarter, year over year.

The answer, my friend, is that Change is blowin’ in the Wind.

The Psychology Of Luxury and The Perception Of Value

Pricing on the brain and the beauty of “branding” is an amazing phenomenon!

People do not just say they enjoy expensive things more than cheap ones. They actually do enjoy them more.

I have said for a long time that the intrinsic or inherent value of an item is the least significant arbiter of what it is actually “worth” on the open market.

I would say that the perceived value of any given item for an individual consumer accounts for about 80% of this persons purchasing decision.

The fact is, people are tremendously influenced by the “psychology of luxury” and its resultant impact on the perception of actual value.

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EVERYONE loves a bargain. But retailers know that people will sometimes turn their noses up at a cheap version of a more expensive item, even if the two are essentially the same. That suggests something is at work in the mind of the consumer beyond simple appreciation of a product’s intrinsic qualities.

This is exactly the reason consumers will opt for the incredibly expensive Hearts On Fire Diamonds instead of entirely comparable and equally beautiful diamonds (without the “name”) at an absolute fraction of the price.

I was quoted in this recent article by Deidre Woollard of Luxist.com where she points to the perception of value as a result of an effective marketing strategy and brand image.

The something in question is expectation, according to research published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Antonio Rangel of the California Institute of Technology. Dr Rangel and his colleagues found that if people are told a wine is expensive while they are drinking it, they really do think it tastes nicer than a cheap one, rather than merely saying that they do.

Rangel figured this out based on a unique an interesting test he performed.

Read about it here in The Economist.

Gold Roses and Gold Trimmed Roses, The Forever Rose and 24kt. Gold Roses!

We are now offering a beautiful collection of gold trimmed roses in many colors on our website!

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The story of this gold dipped rose.

The Red Forever Rose is a 12 inch 24kt. gold dipped red rose which is selected at the height of its beauty and maturity. It is skilfully and perfectly preserved in a durable lacquer shell and then trimmed with a 24K gold finish (24kt. gold plated)!

There are more than 40 meticulous steps and five days of hand work applied by skilled artisans and technicians to complete each one-of-a-kind red rose. Our authentic gold dipped roses, makes the perfect gift for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Birthdays, Weddings, Christmas, or simply to say “I love you”.

Each rose is beautifully packaged in a gold foil gift box with an accompanying gold ribbon.

Diamonds, Diamond Rings, And Stars Dazzle At the Screen Actors Guild.

With the Golden Globes running via press conference this year and the Oscars broadcast still in question, Hollywood’s A-list swarmed the 14th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards last night, dressed to impress in dazzling diamond “power” earrings, bracelets and right-hand rings.

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Diamond power earrings, defined as large diamond studs, diamond drops and diamond chandelier earrings, were seen on numerous starlets, including actress Kate Beckinsale, in diamond stud earrings by Van Cleef and Arpels, The Sopranos’ Edie Falco, in triple-drop diamond earrings by Kwiat valued at more than $250,000, and Desperate Housewives’ Teri Hatcher, in diamond flower-pendant earrings by Neil Lane.

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Ugly Betty’s Ana Ortiz, was seen in diamond cluster earrings, a vintage diamond and platinum bracelet, and a diamond and platinum flower brooch by Kwiat.

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Marg Helgenberger in one of today’s top accessory trends: super-large diamond hoop earrings.

Google Celebrates 50 Years of Lego!!

After a completely hectic and draining day at the office, I need to pause for a humorous interlude!

Search Engine Roundtable covers Google’s celebration of 50 years since the inception of the Lego company with this funky Google logo of the day!

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Of course Google’s obsession with Lego is well documented.
Heck, half of GooglePlex is covered in Lego and Lego related themes.

They seem to live vicariously through Lego!

These two Google founders are absolute geniuses………who never grew up!

So who gets to laugh all the way to the bank?!

Your Refund from DeBeers Diamonds Class Action Lawsuit Could be Peanuts

Or might buy you even less.

That’s right. Payouts are expected to be small as the number of claimants is expected to be very high.

The settlement formula sets up a scale for determining the highest potential rebate a consumer could receive. For example, diamond jewelry that cost $1,000 to $5,499 would be eligible for a maximum rebate of 32 percent of the purchase price, with higher percentages for more-costly diamonds and lower percentages for less-expensive stones. On a $2,000 ring, that means you could get back $640.

The more people who apply for a rebate, the less each individual will receive.

That’s because the consumer portion of the De Beers payout is capped at $135 million, minus up to 25 percent in fees owed to the many law firms that brought the multiple class-action suits between 2001 and 2004.

The figure looks even smaller when compared with the total value of the diamonds sold in the U.S. during the 12-year period covered by the settlement: about $294 billion.

Those of you that want to file a claim, go to this website for specific instructions and Forms:

File Your Diamond Claim Against DeBeers Here

Bottom Line is that expected payouts may very well be $5-10 dollars per claimant. Not even enough to get into a Movie. OUCH!

Ladies: Is The Diamond In Your Diamond Engagement Ring “Real”?

Gals, you’re probably thinking to yourselves, “What a dumb question! Of course it’s real!!

HE LOVES ME!!

Well, in the majority of cases you are correct, the diamond is genuine. But now comes the results of a survey done by Harlequin Romance that finds 13 per cent of men would give their partner a cubic zirconium instead of a real diamond engagement ring, if no one would ever find out.

The report is based on a survey about secrets and telling the truth and questioned 3,000 adults between Sept. 26 and Oct. 31, 2007. More than half the respondents were Canadian.

Although not scientific, the survey is significant for identifying trends in romance, says Harlequin Enterprises Ltd. spokeswoman Heather Foy.

Some other interesting findings by the Survey:

87 per cent of men actually said they’ve had a crush on someone from work.

47 per cent of women had a crush on someone at work.

Almost every Atlantic Canadian man — 96 per cent of those who participated in the survey — said they had flirted with a colleague or supervisor, compared to 53 per cent of women.

Food for Thought.

Gold & Platinum Prices Scorching Highs! Will Diamond Engagement Ring Prices Follow?

Gold and platinum prices struck fresh record highs this morning as investors rushed once more to invest in commodities amid a very weak Dollar, rising Oil prices, and uncertain political conditions around the World.


On the London Bullion Market, gold surged to an historic $919.80 per ounce. Platinum reached an all-time peak of $1,634.50 an ounce on the London Platinum and Palladium Market.

The precious metals beat their previous record highs, of more than $900 for gold and just under $1,600 for platinum, achieved earlier this month.

At this pace, increases in the cost of gold and platinum engagement rings is inevitable.

Guys! Listen To Your Radio and get advice on buying that Diamond Engagement Ring.

Anxious and nervous Grooms-to-be heard all they needed to know about how to buy an engagement ring last week during the American Gem Society (AGS) Laboratories’ 13-stop radio media tour.

The AGS Laboratories was created in 1996 and provides unbiased diamond-grading reports. It is one of the top diamond grading labs in the world. The lab currently issues a cut grade for round brilliant, princess- and emerald-cut diamonds. Cut grades for other shapes are due in the near future.

The tour, “Getting Engaged? Tips on Buying that Special Ring,” covered how to overcome typical proposal blunders and how to read diamond-grading reports.

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What diamond shape should I get? Setting? Platinum? White Gold? HELP!!

Hosted by AGS Laboratories President and Chief Executive Officer Frank Dallahan, the program reached an estimated 3.5 million listeners via nationally syndicated programs such as USA Radio National and Good News Broadcast National, and in locals markets including Atlanta; Chicago; Denver; Detroit; Kansas City, Kan.; Minneapolis; Orlando, Fla.; Raleigh, N.C.; Roanoke, Va.; and Tampa, Fla.

“The tour was an overwhelming success and a terrific opportunity to share the AGS Laboratories message with consumers,” Dallahan said. “Many of the interviewers were intrigued by the diamond-grading process, so much so that the average interview lasted nearly 10 minutes, which just goes to show that even with all the information available to consumers today, there is still a thirst for quality information from reputable sources.”

The media-tour interviews are now available online at How To Buy A Diamond Engagement Ring