Last updateTue, 25 Apr 2017 11pm

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24K Club SEUS honors Mark & Rhonda Jacobson with 2016 Jeweler of the Year Award

24K Club JOY(SMYRNA, Ga.) - Mark and Rhonda Jacobson, owners of Smyrna, GA-based Cumberland Diamond Exchange, were presented with the prestigious 24 Karat Club Southeastern United States (SEUS) Jeweler of the Year Award. The couple was honored at the 24K Club’s 42nd annual black-tie banquet at the elegant Atlanta Country Club on August 6. Each year, 24 Karat Club SEUS selects one store from a number of highly qualified nominees. Cumberland Diamond Exchange was chosen for their dedication to and love of the jewelry industry, and commitment to civic duties above and beyond their service as a retail jewelry store.

Retailer Roundtable: “When elected president, which candidate’s policies do you believe will benefit small businesses more?”

Q: “When elected president, which candidate’s policies do you believe will benefit small businesses more?”

“For this presidential election I went back to the basics starting with the definition of politics. It comes from the Greek word poly, meaning many [citizens], and ticks, which means blood-sucking insects. Joking aside, this presidential election season I’ve become increasingly cynical and am currently undecided. If either candidate is elected, I don’t think it will make a huge impact on my market or my business. That said, if Hillary is elected I think we’ll get more of the same that we’ve seen with the current administration. For the last number of years I’d characterize the economic climate here as not robust, the same could be said for sales in our store. I understand why Trump is interesting to business owners as he comes from a business background. I also understand why people would think that’s a big benefit to supporting him. But historically Trump has differed with Republicans on many key issues, which is concerning and leaves many to wonder what his actual economic policies might be. To date, he hasn’t clearly outlined them. For now, I’ll continue to follow the news carefully to make an informed decision, but for now I am undecided.”

Jeweler helps staff with gun safety training

Sales and support staff in jewelry stores across the country routinely go through training basics from product knowledge refreshers to reviewing take-in procedures at the repair counter. Amber Gustafson, owner of Amber’s Designs Fine Jewelry, decided to add a new chapter to her staff’s training curriculum by offering a gun safety course to each staff member working at her Katy, TX-based jewelry store.  

At KIM International, luxurious Romance® line comes with extras that retailers will love

At KIM International, Romance is leading the way. The diamond bridal collection is the manufacturer’s premier line and the industry’s “most extensive and profitable diamond program,” offering impressive features and support for independent retailers.

Eager to grow, eager to please, Costar Imports realizing goal of going national

With expansions to the San Francisco Bay Area and Thailand, Costar Imports has come a long way since Ram Kedia opened up shop in New Orleans back in 1988.

Costar began as a diamond wholesaler supplying independent retail jewelers in the Southeastern United States, says Avinash (Avi) Bajaj, who owns and directs the business with Ram. Within a few years, Costar moved into the fine jewelry business and in 2003 set up the California office, selling to retail stores in the Western states.

Retailer Roundtable: At mid-year, how has 2016 been so far and what’s ahead?

At mid-year, how has 2016 been so far and what’s ahead?

“So far 2016 has been very strong for us. I’m very happy how things are going with our strongest sales in bridal jewelry and custom. Bridal got a significant boost when we began advertising long-term financing for bridal jewelry. The campaign officially started in the fourth quarter of 2015, and we’ve been continuing that advertising message and methods this year with big results. Younger people don’t look at a lump sum and wonder if they can afford it. For them, they look at what a major purchase like an engagement ring will cost them in terms of monthly payments. Halo rings, especially those in more delicate designs, are still performing well for us and white metals are still strong. Our average diamond purchases range from three-quarters of a carat to one-carat. Most of that is in round brilliants and princess cuts to a lesser extent. We’re also doing well in custom work with Stuller’s CounterSketch and another vendor that is helping to create CAD renderings for customers. Also, we installed our Engagement Ring Rec Center, a standalone table with about 200 ring styles, secured to the custom-made case but still gives bridal customers the flexibility to try rings on. We sell a lot from this case. For the rest of 2016, we’re going to keep advancing the long-term financing message and add a couple of bridal events in the fall to keep up our momentum. I’m very optimistic for 2016.”