GIA Cuts Gemological Staff Again.

The economic malaise hit the jewelry industry again today.

National Jeweler
reports that The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has cut its domestic workforce by another 9 percent in the face of the continuing global economic crisis that’s wreaking havoc on the jewelry industry.

A GIA spokeswoman said the cuts, announced on Wednesday, would impact 103 GIA employees in the United States, 71 at the company’s Carlsbad, Calif., headquarters and 32 at its New York offices. The GIA employs a total of 1,143 workers in the United States.

In addition, all salaried employees will take a pay cut of up to 20 percent, while hourly employees will lose workdays. The company’s pension plan is frozen, the spokeswoman said.

The cuts come on the heels of the December layoffs at the GIA, in which the laboratory slashed its workforce by 11 percent and company executives took a 10 percent pay cut. That equals a 20 percent reduction in the GIA workforce.

According to the spokeswoman, those cut on Wednesday will receive the same severance packaged offered to employees let go in December: full pay and benefits for 60 days and an additional two weeks of severance, plus one additional week for every year of service.

In addition, the GIA is offering job search assistance and unemployment information to those affected. The GIA’s global staff will remain intact, but an overseas hiring freeze is in place.

Fortunoff Owes 6 Million

Idex Online reports that Fortunoff’s Chapter 11 filing discloses that they owe Diamond and Jewelry vendors 6 million dollars.

Listed in its February 5 filing 1,000-5,000 creditors, assets of $100 – $500 million, and liabilities of $100 – $500 million. An affiliate company included in the filing is Fortunoff Card Company, LLC.

Among the top industry creditors – diamond dealers, jewelry manufacturers and watch makers the debts are more than $3.7 million.

What Do Jewelry and Hockey Have in Common?

Everything if your jewelry designer Donna Distefano.

Distefano has entered into an exclusive licensing agreement with the owners of the New Jersey Devils Hockey Team of the National Hockey League and will launch a private collection of high-end jewelry for the pro hockey team.

Distefano’s collection features a complete line of jewelry and accessories for both men and women, with designs including cuff links, money clips, key rings, bracelets, necklaces and earrings. The pieces will be crafted in 22-karat gold, 18-karat gold, fine and sterling silver, diamonds, rubies and semi-precious gemstones.

Distribution will be limited to the Devils’ owners, managers, players and select VIPS.

The line will make its debut in the Platinum Suites of Newark, N.J.’s Prudential Center during the Feb. 9 game with arch rivals the New York Rangers. Good Luck, Donna!

Past Distefano commissions for the New Jersey Devils include a hand-engraved, life-sized regulation hockey puck in fine silver weighing more than 80 ounces. The piece was crafted in honor of the team’s silver anniversary.

Me? I’m a long suffering NY Rangers fan and the best jewelry would be a Stanley Cup this year!


The End of Fortunoff?

NRDC Equity Partners LLC, the owners of the famous Fortunoff Jewelry retail department store are looking to liquidate the stores merchandise and close a glorious chapter in jewelery retail, according to Bloomberg News.

Fortunoff filed Chap. 11 last year and was bought by NRDC. Now with a miserable economy and declining sales, a return to Chap 11 and liquidation is a distinct possibility.

Fortunoff’s flagship store at 57th street and Fifth Avenue in New York City was closed this week at the expiration of its lease.