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CERF Helping Jewelry Artists and Crafters

29 Oct

CERF Helping Jewelry Artists and Crafters
With Southern California going through one of the worst fire seasons in a very long time, a huge number or residents have been affected, and that includes many of the artisans who live in the region. Luckily, there are organizations like CERF, Craft Emergency Relief Fund that exists primarily to help out in times like this.

Art Biz Blog is also spreading the word and asked fellow artists and art lovers to post the following:

The Craft Emergency Relief Fund (CERF) is taking action to respond to the community of craft artists affected by the Southern California Wildfires. They say:

We are reaching out to artists, arts organizations, galleries, businesses and others in the affected areas to offer assistance and to locate information about the arts community. While it is still too early to know the extent of damage, we do know that the situation is severe as news reports indicate. We also know that this area of California has a significant population of craft artists. We have already heard from a jeweler who lost both her home and studio and CERF Trustee and clay artist, Lana Wilson, had to be evacuated from her Del Mar home.

Please help us spread the word that CERF is available to offer assistance to craft artists in Southern California. Please also be aware that your support of our work during these times is essential so that we can deliver aid quickly and effectively.

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World Jewelry Center Museum Experience

2 Sep

World Jewelry Center Museum Experience

I didn't even know there was going to be any sort of museum or as the World Jewelry Center is calling it, "museum experience," in the new center, but it looks like there is going to be something like a museum since they are announcing the hiring of a museum curator, Christine Webb, to run it:

"I'm thrilled to be involved with the WJC," she said. "This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be a part of something very special – an international gem and jewelry marketplace that is the first of its kind in the U.S., with a world-class retail center, featuring a museum and beautiful exhibit space."

Webb added, "It's exciting to be working with a talented group of professionals to develop the vision of the World Jewelry Center museum experience with exciting, innovative exhibits that highlight gems and jewelry and educate the public while promoting the jewelry industry."

WJC Managing Director Bill Boyajian said, "I am delighted to find someone who has such expertise in this field to direct the development of this important part of the World Jewelry Center. Chris' extensive experience and education in gemology and jewelry, along with her excellent work with the smithsonian, make her uniquely qualified to lead this project."

Boyajian said the concept of the WJC's museum is to provide an independent attraction to help draw the public's attention to the retail center, and to be an educational tool and a link to the local community, as well as an experience that provides entertainment and excitement for Las Vegas visitors.

Starbucks Gets Nosey about Jewelry

22 Aug

Starbucks Gets Nosey about Jewelry
Everyone enjoys complaining about Starbucks, so here's something else you can add to your list of complaints. They are down on jewelry, even when it might be part of an employee's cultural heritage. Now they are being held accountable for their anit-jewelry stance. From CBC told to turn over interview with former Starbucks staffer:

The CBC has been ordered by the B.C. human rights Tribunal to hand over an interview with Benita Singh, one of two Indo-Canadian ex-Starbucks employees who filed human rights complaints against the coffee behemoth after being fired for refusing to remove a nose ring.

Starbucks was granted its request Friday for transcripts of a 2003 CBC interview with Singh, in which she discussed her dismissal from Starbucks and her reasons for wearing a nose ring.

Singh, who was fired from a Vancouver Starbucks outlet in June 2003 and Aisha Syed, who was fired from a Richmond outlet in November 2002 after working there for three years, filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal in 2003 alleging the Starbucks policy discriminates against their race, ancestry, place of origin and sex.

[...] The women's lawyer, Lisa Fong, is working on the case pro bono – for free. She said Monday it has taken so long because it was difficult to find an expert willing to provide evidence free of charge that nose rings are an aspect of Indian culture.

The two firings clash with Starbucks' claim that it practices diversity in its human resources policy, said Fong.

Vogues Goes Video in a Big Way

21 Aug

Vogues Goes Video in a Big Way
We are all familiar with the hard copy magazine, vogue, but now, they have gone video in a big way, as in a big new web site full of shopping favs which have taken a clue from the traditional magazine we are all used too. Glossy as gone global a la the world wide web, and you can shop and not drop by flipping through web pages full of fashion merchandise at ShopVogueTV. I took a tour and was very happy to see that jewelry is finally in it's own department and not clumped together with other accessories in some kind of generic fashion.

Check out these crystal earrings, for example, from Badgley Mischka.
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And here are the details from a ShopVogueTV press release:

At 727 advertising pages, September Vogue sets the record as the most ad pages ever published in a monthly consumer magazine. This year, the 115-year old magazine surpasses its own previous records with a total of 840 pages, weighing 4 pounds, 9 ounces. Vogue Publishing Director Tom Florio says September Vogue generated an extraordinary amount of advertising due in part to the debut of ShopVogue.TV, the video online shopping and entertainment network. Premiering today August 21st, this broadband network will feature four channels of original programming: 60 Seconds to Chic, Behind the Lens, Trend Watch and The Collections. In an industry first, viewers will be able to shop these shows as they watch them.

Combining the best of ShopVogue.com with video entertainment, ShopVogue.TV is an immersive shopping destination with over 240 minutes of original programming and more than 1,500 products from a total of 170 brands. Viewers can make purchases as they look at over 500 ads, shop while they watch episodes of exclusive interviews and trade secrets, and share photographs of their own great finds and fashion inspirations by posting them on the site.

ShopVogue.TV debuts today, Tuesday, August 21st just as the coveted September Vogue arrives on newsstands and in mail boxes with the very best of fall fashion.

More Laws About Lead and Jewelry

20 Aug

More Laws About Lead and Jewelry

It's about time! Funny how I've been reporting about lead in children's jewelry for years, and it just seemed to go and on. Now, with all the toy problems related to lead paint, it seems more legislatures have woken up to the fact that this issue with lead, toys, and children's jewelry is pretty darn serious.

From California legislator pushes federal ban on lead in kids' products:

A Bay Area legislator who is already sponsoring a "toxic toy" bill in the state Legislature told a federal agency Thursday that if it doesn't step up and ban lead in children's products by the end of the year, she will introduce a measure to protect Californians in January.

Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, D-San Francisco, sent a letter to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the agency responsible for regulating harmful chemicals in consumer products, demanding a speedy prohibition of toxic lead in products used by children, the most vulnerable of the population.

Ma said she would seek a law similar to one in Illinois, which is the only state to have restrictions on lead in children's toys tougher than the regulations of the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The measure prohibits the sale of any product intended for children that contains lead, whether it's in paint, metal, vinyl or something else. In May, the state recalled some bibs found to contain lead in the vinyl.

Lead is toxic to the brain and the entire neurological system, and can impair cognitive and physical development even at low levels, scientists say.

Critics of the Consumer Product Safety Commission have accused the agency of not having rules strict enough to protect the public and not enforcing the ones it has.

On Tuesday, a spokeswoman for the agency, Maryanne McGerty-Sieber, in response to a huge recall by Mattel of toys containing high levels of lead, erroneously said the agency was preparing a rule to ban the toxic metal in all children's products. On Thursday, Julie Vallese, director of information and public affairs at the Consumer Product Safety Commission, said McGerty-Sieber "misspoke." The rule-making under way applies not to all children's products, but would only restrict lead in children's jewelry, Vallese said.

Children’s Jewelry from China Unsafe?

7 Aug

Children's Jewelry from China Unsafe?

With the huge toy recall currently under way, proceeded by pet food and then toothpaste contamination, the eyes of the world continue to look toward China to explain what the heck is going on over there! Toys, toothpaste, pet food, and children's jewelry is also on the list. In fact, lead in children's jewelry has been an issue on-going for years, and according to this article from The International Herald Tribune, not much seems to be changing as this continues to be a safety issue:

Despite a two-year effort to eliminate the threat of poisonous lead in inexpensive children's jewelry, hundreds of thousands of tainted items are still being sold across the United States, the U.S. government has found.

Inspections by the Consumer Product Safety Commission of 85 pieces of jewelry collected since last autumn from U.S. retailers and importers determined that 20 percent still posed a potential poisoning hazard.

[...] the problem with the children's jewelry, persisting after two years, reveals just how difficult it may be to resolve the problems.

Guo Lisheng, a deputy director general at the Chinese General Administration for Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, wrote in a March letter to the U.S. agency that jewelry with lead was not a danger as long as it was covered by a protective coating.

A formal ban on lead in children's jewelry that was proposed by the agency, Guo said, was unnecessary and would "increase the cost of producing and inspection of the manufacturers of children's metal jewelry, and bring unnecessary obstacles to trade."

U.S. officials say they have made progress in curtailing lead in children's jewelry, but that they need more enforcement powers, like the ability to impose fines or even criminal charges against repeat offenders. Scott Wolfson, a spokesman for the U.S. agency, said, "We want to get to a point of not having to do recall after recall, and simply make the marketplace safe."

The tainted jewelry has been brought onto the market by big-name outfits like Mattel, juicy couture and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, which included 746,621 lead-contaminated "bonus charms" in a Shirley Temple movie package.

But scores of small importers like Really Useful Products, a company with six employees in Darien, Illinois, also delivered children's jewelry to national retailers with dangerous levels of lead.

Hello, Guo! Wake up! No lead, even covered by a coating, is safe for children, or even adults for that matter. Coating wear off over time.

So, as you dig through your child's toy box for those recalled toys, don't forget to check her jewelry box as well.

Diamonds Get Sticky

21 Jul

Diamonds Get Sticky

I recently have had to remove peanut butter forever from my diet. I'm not one to eat a lot of protein, so I've often used peanut butter to help out with this issue. However, after realizing how fattening it is, well, the jar is now collecting dust in my pantry. Even my husband can't eat it because he does low carb, so that means no bread. Maybe this jar isn't a total loss though according to this news from Jewelry.com and BBC. From Peanut butter diamonds on display:

Peanut butter is being turned into diamonds by scientists with a technique that harnesses pressures higher than those found at the centre of the earth.

Edinburgh University experts say the feat is made possible by squeezing the paste between the tips of two diamonds creating a "stiletto heel effect". [...]

Professor Malcolm McMahon, based at the Centre for Science and Extreme Conditions at Edinburgh University, is one of the scientists involved.

He said: "Pressure can cause extraordinary changes in all kinds of materials and can create completely novel materials.

"We are currently developing techniques that will create pressures of up to five million atmospheres, much higher than the pressure at the centre of the earth, to find the holy grail of high-pressure physics, the metallic phase of hydrogen.

"If we manage to make metallic hydrogen, the next step will be to make enough to study it in real detail, which would mean using much larger diamond anvils, about the size of your thumb, to squeeze it."

Accessories Magazine Goes Digital

5 Jul

Accessories Magazine Goes Digital

I tend to have a love – hate relationship with Accessories Magazine. On the one hand, they do have have some great information about the industry, and that includes jewelry. On the other two hands, it's not just jewelry but all kinds of other accessories (handbags – lots and lots – hosiery…as in socks for example, hats, etc.) and sometimes I don't see enough jewelry, and then there's the advertising. Considering the cost of this magazine, $43.75 U.S., you'd think you'd have a few less ads and a bit more content.

I will admit, though, they do seem to be continually on the cutting edge of fashion accessories, and they've proven it again with the launch of AccessoriesDirections.com:

AccessoriesDirections.com-created by the experts behind Accessories magazine-is the only online trend forecasting service devoted exclusively to the accessories business. And it's the only service that calls out the big trends then breaks them down by silhouette, color and material for each product classification.

Why so important? Trends are changing faster than ever, and both retailers and manufacturers know they must identify-and interpret-trends quicker and more efficiently. Private label merchandise is ever more essential as retailers recognize the need to differentiate themselves. In response, manufacturers of every classification are restructuring to provide customized programs and specialized buys.

Timing is everything. Detailed trend information for each season/market is crucial to ensure profits. Manufacturers must have adequate time to design, develop and stock the latest fashion merchandise (but not before retailers are ready to buy or after consumers have moved on to another style). Retailers are analyzing how often they buy and debating the timing of delivery dates.

AccessoriesDirections.com addresses all these needs. You will no longer have to guess which trends and categories will become the moneymakers. With this exclusive trend service, AccessoriesDirections.com shows you the way.

The service includes: European Trend Spotting (store windows and street shots in Paris, London, Milan, Barcelona, Amsterdam and St. Tropez); Previews of the Seasons' Five Big Trends; Runway, Sketches & Items; Materials & Components; Weekly Newsletter, and Live Trend Presentations.

Of course, considering I can barely afford the 40 plus price of the magazine, the cost of joining this digital jewelry and accessories fest is out of the question: $4700 for an annual subscription – yes, no decimal point honey! I know this site is meant for the big boys and girls in the industry – retail mainly – but it would still be nice to have a little slice left over for the poor jewelry journalist.

Jewelry Diva Blog Rant

25 Jun

Jewelry Diva Blog Rant

Time out for a jewelry diva rant folks! And, I'm really talking to those wonderful designers, manufacturers, and other folks in the jewelry business world. Listen up!

The time of the blog is here. In fact, we are well entrenched in the electronic apparatus and are quickly over-taking the old hardcopy media that you are so familiar with.

I'm not saying hard copy magazines are out, but what I am saying is that you need to tune your brains into those of us on the cutting edge of new media – those of us in the blogosphere who are here trying to get the word out about your jewelry.

I can't tell you the number of times I'm surfing around, discover a great site with Fabo jewelry that I know my readers (and I got a lot of 'em!) would love to read about and, yes, SEE, as in view. Yet, I'm stopped by some kind of ridiculous copyright statement: "The images on this site are not to be copied without permission. Yada, yada, yada."

Okay, so yes, protect yourself. But, also give us blog press folks something in return or you will continued to be ignored. The digital world is a mixture and text and images. We are like a big beautiful interactive scrapbook for readers to pick and choose what they want to read and look at.

When you have a web site but have no information available for blog media folks like moi, that means you want to be ignored. Am I right? That you want us all to just click on by. See ya! (Somehow I don't think this is the case.)

So, get a clue. It's the age of the blog, baby, and that means either have a media area with downloadable images and maybe a press release even, or get over yourselves and get rid of that has-been hardcopy-mindset copyright BS on your sites.

Okay, rant over…back to blogging about brilliant jewelry folks who want to been seen.

Ebay Sellers Pays Restitution to Jewelry Buyers

10 Jun

Ebay Sellers Pays Restitution to Jewelry Buyers

Ebay is still one of the hottest places on line to buy just about anything, and that especially means jewelry. There is a lot of jewelry, which means there is a lot of competition between jewelry merchants. That may be why one Ebay jewelry seller tried to get over on his Ebay customers. From Jewelry Seller on eBay Fined $400,000:

A jewelry company on eBay Inc. that allegedly bid on its own auctions to illegally drive up prices by as much as 20 percent agreed to pay $400,000 in restitution and penalties, the New York state attorney general's office said on Saturday.

Ezra Dweck and employees of his company, EMH Group, placed more than 232,000 such bids worth some $5 million over about a one-year period, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's office said.

Dweck and EMH Group have also been banned from the online auction industry for four years under the terms of the settlement agreed to by the parties, Cuomo's office said.

A lawyer for Dweck and EMH said they had resolved the matter "only to avoid an interminable, costly battle with the AG's office."

"EMH and Mr. Dweck did not intentionally encourage any fraudulent bidding," the lawyer said. "A buyback program, which was vetted by two attorneys, was created to give winning bidders an incentive to sell back to EMH certain items."

EBay brought the case to the attention of the attorney general's office and helped in the investigation over several months. The world's largest online auction company has been trying to demonstrate to buyers and sellers that it is making aggressive moves to halt fraud on its sites.