The Jewelry District show

The Jewelry District

Summary: A podcast by JCK Magazine and JCKonline about industry news, trends, interviews, weird stories, and more!

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 Episode 39: Guest Alexander Lacik | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 0:19:32

In This EpisodeIn this edition of The Jewelry District, you’ll hear JCK editor-in-chief Victoria Gomelsky ( and news director Rob Bates ( with Alexander Lacik, CEO of Pandora. They discuss how Alexander got into the jewelry industry, the trouble Pandora was having back in 2017 and how the company has been working to recover, and the effect of COVID-19 on its e-commerce business. Show Notes00:52 Victoria and Rob introduce guest Alexander Lacik, CEO of Pandora.04:35 Alexander details the trouble Pandora was in before he came aboard.10:03 Rob asks Alexander why he thinks Pandora charms took off in the first place.11:47 Alexander is asked about the company's efforts to market to Gen Z.13:54 Victoria asks about Pandora’s e-commerce initiatives, and then they talk sustainability. Episode CreditsHosts: Rob Bates and Victoria GomelskyEditor: Olivia BrileyProducer and engineer: Natalie ChometPlugs: (, @jckmagazine ( Show Recap Introducing Alexander LacikAlexander is the CEO of Pandora. Before moving to Pandora, Alexander worked with a range of brands including Pringles, Vicks, Always, Olay, Pantene, Lysol, Woolite, Head & Shoulders, and more. After moving back to Sweden with his kids, he ended up working with Britex for a while before Pandora knocked on his door. He was excited to work with Pandora because it was an international brand, and he liked working with a company based in a different locale. In Hot WaterRob asks Alexander if, since he has worked on so many brands, Pandora is his first that is a discretionary category. Alexander says jewelry is more of a luxury item than other brands he’s served, but marketing any product is similar in some ways. Pandora was having some trouble in 2017, and that’s when it approached Alexander. Pandora's cardinal issue? Fixing its brand relevance as it had lost touch with its core audience. After a study with 30,000 people, Pandora realized product design wasn’t an obstacle. The problem was that the brand had lost a bit of its clarity and needed to redefine what it stood for. Standing the Test of TimeRob asks why Pandora took off in the first place, and why its charms continue to strike a chord with people. Alexander clarifies that Pandora did not create the idea of charm bracelets; they’ve been around for thousands of years. He says that it's hard to determine why things become relevant in pop culture, but that marking milestones and celebrations in one’s life with a charm is what really drew people to the company. Now, Alexander says, Pandora is in a much better position than it was two years ago. Who’s the Audience?Rob asks if it’s important for Pandora to pull in younger consumers. Alexander says women are the biggest buyers, particularly those between 25 and 40 who have a large disposable income. But he believes that by 2030, 30% of jewelry will be bought by Gen Zers. Pandora is currently working to figure out what the difference is, if any, between marketing to millennials and Gen Zers, while still staying relevant to the market at large. E-commerce Solidification and SustainabilityVictoria asks about the impact of COVID-19 on Pandora’s e-commence business. Alexander says the company used to have 16 different e-commerce platforms globally, so the problem that it encountered was that if it wanted to upgrade something,

 Episode 38: Guest John Ferry | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 0:24:17

In This EpisodeIn this edition of The Jewelry District, you'll hear JCK editor-in-chief Victoria Gomelsky and news director Rob Bates talk with John Ferry, the founder and chief executive officer of Prosperity Earth. He'll tell us all about his mining efforts in Madagascar and the beautiful demantoid garnets found there. Show Notes00:30 Introducing John Ferry, founder and chief executive officer of Prosperity Earth.06:51 John explains how Prosperity Earth tries to give back to the local community08:17 Victoria asks John to explain the significance of demantoids.12:31 John tells us all about the mine.15:39 Rob questions if mining can have a positive impact on the community in which it occurs.19:03 A few more fun facts about Madagascar. Episode CreditsHosts: Rob Bates and Victoria GomelskyEditor: Olivia BrileyProducer and engineer: Natalie ChometPlugs:, @jckmagazine Show Recap Introducing John FerryWith most of the Tucson gem shows cancelled,  Victoria and Rob will be bringing a little bit of the gem world to you as they introduce their guest, John Ferry, the founder and chief executive officer of Prosperity Earth. John is based in Greenwich, Conn., while his mining company is based in Madagascar. Originally working on Wall Street, John later turned his entrepreneurial spirit to Madagascar, the fourth largest island in the world, which he's now visited around 65 times. Starting out with a chocolate and vanilla business, he soon turned his endeavors in Madagascar to mining. All About Giving BackJohn says creating prosperity is his No. 1 goal, hence the name of the company. And with that comes a component of giving back to the community. That's done by reinvesting in the people who work for his company and the community in which they work. But giving back also includes an environmental factor. There's a high level of interdependency between the people of Madagascar, the planet, community relations, and environmental development. What Are Demantoids?Victoria tells us that she's holding a demantoid garnet of John's and asks him to explain why it's so special. He tells us a demantoid garnet is 10,000 times rarer than a diamond. Its signature features are its fire and brilliance, which John believes make it the most beautiful of all the colored gems. Comparing Madagascan demantoids to ones from Russia, John believes his are better because of their sharp and clean crystallization. Victoria asks John about his deposit supplies in the mine, and Rob asks him about how he plans to get the word out about demantoids. Origins Of Madagascan DemantoidsRob asks John how he found out about the mine, how long it took him to get set up, and how deep it is. The mine has been around for about 10 years. John explains how he knew an Italian geologist, Dr. Federico Pezzotta, who stuck with the deposit to study it and establish the potential of the location. Right now, Prosperity Earth is only mining down about 15 to 18 meters-but it should eventually go down to around 200 to 300 meters. Madagascan demantoid is anywhere from 30 to 50% the cost of Russian demantoid. John says he wants to democratize demantoid, making it accessible to designers. The Impact Of MiningBeyond the mining level, Prosperity Earth has a 10-plus person gem-cutting team that does precision faceting. The gem-cutting process is responsible for job creation, making Madagascar not just the origin of the rough gem crystal, but also where the value addition takes place. Rob plays devil's advocate and asks if mining can really have a positive impact on local economies. John says yes. But he also differentiates between various types of mining operations.

 Episode 37: JCK Show, Holiday Report, and De Beers | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 0:20:17

In This EpisodeIn this edition of The Jewelry District, you’ll hear JCK editor-in-chief Victoria Gomelsky ( and news director Rob Bates ( talk about the JCK Las Vegas and Luxury by JCK shows in August, Inauguration Day jewelry, and the De Beers Ten/Ten collection. Show Notes 00:30 JCK’s shows have been moved to August: What can we expect?03:20 Pearls are having a moment and really took the spotlight in January.06:58 Rob recaps the holiday reports.09:44 Victoria talks about e-commerce and fun ways to shop digitally in the future.13:56 De Beers recently released its Ten/Ten project, and Victoria dishes about her favorite rings in the collection.17:56 Something unexpected happened in the art deco world at the Paris haute couture showings. Episode CreditsHosts: Rob Bates and Victoria GomelskyEditor: Olivia BrileyProducer and engineer: Natalie ChometPlugs: (, @jckmagazine ( Show Recap New Dates for the JCK ShowVictoria and Rob recorded this podcast during the last week of January, and they talk about how long the month felt. They also discuss the overload of webinars and online events they’ve been seeing. Because of so many things being online, Victoria and Rob are viewing the JCK Las Vegas and Luxury by JCK shows now scheduled for August as a welcome break. Victoria predicts pearls will be the strongest category at the shows. Why Pearls?Pearls have taken the spotlight so far in 2021. They made a big splash at the inauguration, where Vice President Kamala Harris and many others were seen sporting the opulent beauties. Harris wore a pearl necklace by W.Rosado, but she’s also known to wear black pearls. There was even a Facebook group devoted to wearing pearls in the days before the inauguration. Rob reflects on what Barbara Bush and Nancy Pelosi did for pearls. Rob and Victoria also discuss the jewelry that Amanda Gorman was wearing, and the Rolex that Biden was wearing. Holiday ReportsVictoria asks Rob about what he makes of the holiday reports he's seen and what they mean for the state of the industry. There were mixed expectations, and mixed results, but overall Rob thinks the holiday season went pretty well. The season may not have been what retailers hoped for, but it was definitely promising, all things considered. They also reflect on which business practices are probably here to stay in 2021. E-commerce in 2021Victoria attended a virtual retail innovation conference by PSFK, a New York–based trend casting agency, and she fills us in on what she learned. One of the things Victoria took away from the conference was that retailers need to make things easier and more accessible for customers, especially at checkout. The conference hosts also spoke about how to get people just as excited to shop in stores as they are to shop online, and there are some interesting ways people have tried to replicate that experience. Rob and Victoria make the case for consumers having fewer choices when shopping versus having unlimited choice. De Beers and Ten/TenDe Beers worked with Blue Nile and a collection of 10 designers to create its newest project, Ten/Ten. The designers were chosen to create wedding jewelry that is now being sold on Blue Nile, in a limited collection of 10 rings per designer. All the rings are priced around $4,000, and all the diamonds used were from Botswana.

 Episode 36: Guest Jeffrey Cohen | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 0:24:49

In This Episode In this edition of The Jewelry District, you’ll hear JCK editor-in-chief Victoria Gomelsky ( and news director Rob Bates ( talk with Jeffrey Cohen, president of Citizen Watch America. He’ll tell us how he got into the watch industry; highlight the importance of innovation and a digital-first, data-driven movement; and give his thoughts on the watch industry going into 2021. Show Notes00:25 Victoria and Rob introduce their guest, Jeffrey Cohen, president of Citizen Watch America.03:34 Jeffrey drives home the importance of the brand itself over country of origin.05:50 2020 forced Jeffrey to become even more digital-first with his brands than ever before.11:17 Disney, Marvel, Frank Sinatra, and the Grammy Awards: Jeffrey shares watch news on all.14:53 Jeffrey reveals what Citizen Watch America's data is saying about its watch brands.19:16 Victoria wonders if trade shows will be returning in the future. Episode CreditsHosts: Rob Bates and Victoria GomelskyEditor: Olivia BrileyProducer and engineer: Natalie ChometPlugs: (, @jckmagazine ( Show Recap Introducing Jeffrey CohenVictoria and Rob introduce their guest, Jeffrey Cohen, president of Citizen Watch America. He’s been in that role for over a decade now, and he oversees not just Citizen Watch America but a total of five brands, including Bulova, Accutron, Alpina, and Frederique Constant. His father owned a high-end luxury retail store, which first got him interested in watches, and in 1982, he became a regional sales rep at Movado. In 2010, he joined Citizen. What’s In A Name? Rob asks about the name Citizen, and Jeffrey explains its importance: having a watch for all people to enjoy. Rob asks if working for a Japanese company is any different from working for an American one. Jeffery says no and emphasizes the importance of the brand over country of origin. He most greatly values innovation, and tells the JCK editors about a watch’s movement that was just 1 mm thick and the innovation that went into creating it. Digital-First OperationsJeffrey says that his consumers easily transitioned to online purchasing, but also explains what his company needed more of to make its website work. Victoria also asks about Jeffrey’s direct-to-consumer ambitions, and Jeffrey explains how Citizen has become a digital-first brand. The terminology it uses is "Citizen First," where its consumers get the best experience possible. Jeffrey then explains how he keeps his brands separate. Collaboration With Disney and MarvelVictoria asked how the Swiss brands Alpena and Frederique Constant are doing, and Jeffery explains how Alpena and Frederique Constant's independent retailers did very well during the holiday season. Victoria also asks what we can expect to see from Citizen this year. Jeffrey talks about its collaborations with Disney and Marvel, as well as innovation coming out of the Bulova brand and its Frank Sinatra collection. He also discusses the upcoming 2021 Grammy Awards and Citizen's involvement. Data, Data, DataJeffrey says Citizen has been using data for years now, but that the pandemic really pushed it to become a digital-first company. CRM is what it primarily uses to create additional sales for the company. Jeffrey says the watch industry's consumer is getting younger, and for Bulova,

 Episode 35: Jewelry Industry Predictions for 2021 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 0:22:40

In This Episode In this edition of The Jewelry District, you’ll hear JCK editor-in-chief Victoria Gomelsky ( and news director Rob Bates ( about the trends in 2020 that will continue into 2021. E-commerce? Probably here to stay. They’ll also be covering a Weird Story of the Week. Show Notes 00:30 Rob and Victoria wish listeners a Happy New Year and pick out what business strategies worked last year that might be here to stay in 2021.03:33 E-commerce looks like it’s here to stay.07:14 Victoria believes jewelry will join watches in the circular economy.13:07 Rob gives us a little insight to the new defense appropriations bill and what it means for the jewelry industry.16:10 Victoria touches on Pantone's Colors of the Year.20:05 This episode’s Weird Story of the Week will make you happy as a clam. Episode CreditsHosts: Rob Bates and Victoria GomelskyEditor: Olivia BrileyProducer and engineer: Natalie ChometPlugs: (, @jckmagazine ( Show Recap What We Accomplished in 2020 Happy New Year! While we're facing plenty of uncertainties going into the new year, Victoria and Rob are hopeful. They acknowledge that we have all learned to embrace e-commerce and digital initiatives, and learned to work on the fly. Our Digital Future People think the adoption of e-commerce is here to stay. While we likely won't continue to do everything on Zoom, we will certainly keep some operations online, as we’ve learned to adapt to this new technology. Victoria says the circular economy is on her mind as we go into this new year—especially for gold and watches. She anticipates the circular economy will become more looped into e-commerce initiatives. The Circular Economy While watches have already been a part of the circular economy for some time now, Victoria believes jewelry will be added into the mix soon. Victoria tells us about Omnique, a jewelry site specializing in antique and vintage jewels that's already connecting old jewels to new owners. Rob mentions De Beers experimented with a trade-in service, but ultimately decided that the way to get best value for diamonds was to let consumers auction them online. A Move Toward Greater Transparency According to the new defense appropriations bill, financial institutions will be required to make their ultimate beneficial owner public. Rob has been listening to podcasts that differentiate the underground or shadow economy from our economy, but he points out that the underground economy is really just a part of our overall economy. Hopefully with this new legislation, there will be more transparency in the jewelry industry. Pantone Colors of the Year Victoria talks about the Pantone Colors of the Year: Ultimate Grey and Illuminating. While perhaps not the most obvious colors for the jewelry industry, they are bright and optimistic. Victoria ponders how these colors will be incorporated this year, and she suggests a few stones that may hit the mark. On that note, the JCK editors mourn Tucson not being held in 2021. Weird Story of the Week 2020 has come to a close. But don't worry, there's still plenty of weird to go around, and Rob supplies it with a new Weird Story of the Week. Gosman's Fish Market in Montauk, N.Y., offers a great cup of chowder, but you won’t believe what came out of a batch of clams.

 Episode 34: Guest Matt Stuller | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 0:22:59

In This Episode In this edition of The Jewelry District, you’ll hear JCK editor-in-chief Victoria Gomelsky ( and news director 

 Episode 33: Holiday Sales, Online Luxury, Gold Sourcing | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 0:24:04

In This EpisodeIn this edition of The Jewelry District you’ll hear JCK editor-in-chief Victoria Gomelsky ( and news director Rob Bates ( Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the upcoming holidays; Amazon battling it out for space in the luxury industry; and responsible gold sourcing in the watch industry. Show Notes00:30 Speaking on Cyber Monday, Rob and Victoria begin their discussion of holiday sales.05:15 Victoria dives into how retailers can improve their holiday season.09:58 Amazon has been vying for a spot in the luxury market. What does that mean for other jewelers in the category?15:05 Responsible gold sourcing in the gold watch industry takes the spotlight.22:44 Some companies prefer to keep their gold sourcing hushed, but Rob and Victoria give sources for those that want to do better. Episode CreditsHosts: Rob Bates and Victoria GomelskyEditor: Olivia BrileyProducer and engineer: Natalie ChometPlugs: (, @jckmagazine ( Show Recap Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and "Zoom-worthy" JewelryVictoria starts out by reporting on the passing of a beloved member of the jewelry industry, William "Lecil" Henderson of the Henderson Collection, and passes on her deepest condolences to his family and friends. Victoria and Rob then switch topics to talk about Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, and more holiday sales to come. Rob thinks the forecasts for retailers are pretty good this season, and he tells us why consumers looking for “Zoom-worthy” jewelry could help drive sales—if retailers put in the work. A Labor of LoveVictoria picks up the question of how retailers can improve their holiday season sales and says that this is certainly a labor-intensive season for store owners. Some states are still allowing backyard or garden showings, which are intimate jewelry showings that have the potential to be very successful. While wholesale may be down for people like Mark Patterson, a designer in SoCal who Victoria spoke to, his retail has more than doubled for 2020. Rob and Victoria both encourage people to shop local to keep small businesses afloat. Amazon, Luxury Jewelry, and e-CommerceVictoria brings up e-commerce in the luxury space, and how it has been really heating up lately. Amazon has been trying to ramp up its luxury offerings, especially luxury fashion. Amazon Fashion is going up against Farfetch—the online luxury platform in which Richemont and Alibaba have invested—and LVMH". In 2020, the online luxury market has gone from taking up just 12% of the luxury market  to 23%. Jewelers must have digital operations up to snuff. Gold in the Watch IndustryConversations around responsible gold sourcing have amped up because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Victoria recently wrote an article for the New York Times on responsible gold sourcing in the watch industry —which isn’t discussed as often as responsible sourcing in the rest of the jewelry industry. Despite growing consumer demand, Swiss watchmakers haven’t been more transparent about their gold sourcing, nor do they talk about where they get their raw materials from. Hushed PracticesRolex is a huge brand in the industry but won’t communicate about its sourcing practices. Rob discusses how recycled gold, while sounding good,

 Episode 32: Guest Caryl Capeci | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 0:26:29

In This Episode In this edition of The Jewelry District you’ll hear JCK editor-in-chief Victoria Gomelsky ( and news director Rob Bates ( interview Caryl Capeci, CEO of Chow Tai Fook North America. She'll be discussing the merger of her company with Hearts on Fire. You'll also hear her talk about what jewelry categories are especially hot right now for independent retailers, and what she fears about the lab-grown diamond industry. Show Notes 00:30 Rob and Victoria introduce their guest Caryl Capeci, CEO of Chow Tai Fook North America06:22 Caryl tells us how she has worked to help the Hearts on Fire brand grow11:35 Chow Tai Fook and Hearts on Fire have joined forces despite their differences, and Caryl explains how16:33 Three categories are doing especially well at independent retailers, and Caryl tells all19:47 Caryl expresses worry over the lab-grown diamond industry Episode CreditsHosts: Rob Bates and Victoria GomelskyEditor: Olivia BrileyProducer and engineer: Natalie ChometPlugs: (, @jckmagazine ( Show Recap Introducing Caryl CapeciVictoria and Rob have Caryl Capeci on as their guest this episode. She’s the CEO of Chow Tai Fook North America, and also does work for Diamonds Do Good. She talks about how she fell into the jewelry industry, starting out at an advertising agency and landing herself on the De Beers account back when they were doing integrated marketing before anyone else was. She also explains why De Beers’ campaigns were so successful. Hearts on Fire LegacyCaryl left the De Beers’ account in 1999, and left the industry altogether when she married her husband and they moved to Massachusetts. Hearts on Fire was created in 1996, but Caryl didn't join them until 2007. She describes how she helped to build brand loyalty as they grew Hearts on Fire through connections with sales associates and independent jewelers. Rob asks why Hearts on Fire had more staying power than other brands. Marriage of Hearts on Fire and Chow Tai FookHearts on Fire acquired the wholesaler brand Chow Tai Fook in 2014. Victoria asks what kinds of changes Hearts on Fire has implemented during the past six years. Caryl explains that while the two companies are very different, they had a perfect marriage right from the beginning. Hearts on Fire is also selling in China, in 250 stores in the Chow Tai Fook network. Caryl also talks about her stay in Hong Kong at the peak of the country's first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Categories That WorkRob asks Caryl if she sees any difference in consumer buying habits post—COVID-19. She highlights the fact that people want to give gifts with meaning and of lasting value, as they're especially appreciative of their loved ones and close friends that they haven’t been able to see. She says that watches, classic diamond jewelry, and bridal are three categories that are doing especially well at independent retailers. What About Lab-Grown?Victoria asks if the pandemic has reminded people of their community jeweler,

 Episode 31: Blue Nile x Lightbox, the Argyle Mines, and NYC's Jewelry Week | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 0:22:49

In This EpisodeIn this edition of The Jewelry District, you’ll hear JCK editor-in-chief Victoria Gomelsky ( and news director Rob Bates ( talk about the recent announcement that Lightbox will be selling on Blue Nile. They'll also be discussing the closure of the Argyle mine, and New York City’s upcoming Jewelry Week. Listen Now[EMBED] Show Notes00:00 Rob and Victoria discuss Lightbox and Blue Nile teaming up.04:55 Are lab-grown diamonds just for fashion, or are they fit for bridal wear, too?07:50 The Argyle mines are closing: What that means for the industry.10:00 Colored diamonds were a staple of the Argyle mines. Victoria and Rob talk color variety and nomenclature.16:32 Victoria discusses all the fun to come at the upcoming NYC Jewelry Week. Episode CreditsHosts: Rob Bates and Victoria GomelskyEditor: Olivia BrileyProducer and engineer: Natalie ChometPlugs: (, @jckmagazine (, ( Show Recap Blue Nile x LightboxLightbox made a big announcement right at the end of October: It will be selling its product on Blue Nile. When Rob spoke to the CEO of Blue Nile earlier in the year, it seemed like the company was leaning toward partnering with the fashion brand, and now it’s official. This partnership is Blue Nile’s first lab-grown diamond brand. Rob argues that Lightbox, despite all the criticism, is offering a genuine attempt to differentiate themselves in the market of lab-grown diamonds. Are Lab-Grown Diamonds for Bridal or Fashion?Even though Lightbox debuted in 2018, Victoria argues that the market for lab-grown diamonds still has such mixed messaging on whether or not the diamonds are up to par with their non-lab-grown counterparts. She recently went to see Mark Patterson, a luxury jeweler, and he told her that his retail business this year is through the roof, and that he had his first bridal lab-grown diamond sales. Despite people starting to buy lab-grown diamonds for bridal wear, Blue Nile and LightBox are still advertising them as just fashion pieces. The Closing of the Argyle MinesOn Nov. 3, the Argyle mine in Western Australia closed after 37 years in the business. Victoria asks Rob what he thinks of the closure and what it means for the industry. Rob says that the industry originally viewed what came out of the Argyle mine as inferior, but the mine managed to create a market for middle-class Americans wanting to buy diamonds at a lower price, thereby “democratizing” the market. Colored DiamondsThe Argyle mine produced 90% of the world’s pink diamonds, and it also produced champagne and chocolate diamonds. Victoria talks about how the gems get their color. She also mentions the 2.83 ct. violet diamond that graced the cover of the July/August issue of JCK. Rob and Victoria discuss the interesting nomenclature of diamonds out of the Argyle mine and how Argyle worked to differentiate themselves. New York City’s Third Annual Jewelry WeekNew York City is holding its third annual jewelry week from Nov. 16 through Nov. 22,

 Episode 30: Guest Satta Matturi | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 0:20:33

In This Episode In this edition of The Jewelry District you’ll hear JCK editor-in-chief Victoria Gomelsky ( and news director Rob Bates ( interview Satta Matturi, owner of the eponymous brand. She’ll be discussing her interest in the diamond business, which started from an early age, and how she made her way to create and design for her own brand. Show Notes00:30 Rob and Victoria introduce Satta Matturi, owner of the eponymous brand.04:45 Satta talks about beneficiation in Botswana.07:20 With a father who worked for De Beers, Satta has always had an eye for diamonds, and she explains how she got her start.11:05 Satta is passionate about jewelry and draws inspiration from Africa for her designs.16:48 Rob asks Satta about her social media presence, and she enthuses about her new jewelry collection out this week. Episode CreditsHosts: Rob Bates and Victoria GomelskyEditor: Olivia BrileyProducer and engineer: Natalie ChometPlugs: (, @jckmagazine ( Show Recap Introducing Satta MatturiVictoria introduces today’s guest, Satta Matturi, designer and founder of the eponymous jewelry brand. She splits her time between London and Gaborone, the capital of Botswana; for this episode, she’s calling in from London. Satta was born in Sierra Leone, and her father worked for De Beers, so she says her family is synonymous with the diamond industry. Satta says that Sierra Leone used to be referred to as the "Athens of Africa," and she explains how she got her start as a jeweler. Botswana and the Diamond IndustryRob brings up that Satta now lives in Botswana, which, compared to Sierra Leone, is the poster child for beneficiation. But Satta says the two countries are so different it would be hard to even compare them. Satta tells us a little bit about beneficiation in Botswana and the headway they’ve made. Where She Got Her StartVictoria asks Satta if it was a foregone conclusion she would end up where she is now; she says it wasn’t and details how she went to school in London before ending up at De Beers. She started at that company as a trainee diamond valuer, beginning her training out on the production floors before moving to sales. She became a key account manager in London, quickly transferring to South Africa before going back to London and, eventually, on to India. African Ethos Turned Contemporary CreationSatta tells Victoria and Rob of her passion for jewelry, which led her to start her own jewelry brand. She wanted to identify the market for distinct fine jewelry that was different from the norm, and she drew inspiration from the African continent, where these precious materials come from, to make contemporary pieces with an African ethos. Rob also asks Satta for any advice she would give to someone starting out in the industry, and she describes three things she would have done differently. Social Media and a New CollectionRob asks Satta about her presence on Instagram and how she works to stand out. Since she didn't much capital when she started her business,

 Episode 29: Publications, LVMH and Tiffany, and Social Commerce | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 0:21:20

In This Episode In this edition of The Jewelry District you’ll hear JCK editor-in-chief Victoria Gomelsky ( and news director Rob Bates ( talk about their recent publications, LVMH and Tiffany, and social commerce. You’ll also hear another installment of Weird Story of the Week, and this one involves a Real Housewives star.Show Notes Show Notes 00:30 Rob gives a sneak peek of his new novel A Murder Is Forever.03:15 Victoria’s new piece for the New York Times details the history of wristwatches.09:35 The LVMH/Tiffany schism comes as no surprise to Rob.14:23 Victoria will host a webinar on Wednesday that covers holiday 2020, and she discusses the importance of social commerce.17:55 Kyle Richards of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills gets wrapped up in the Weird Story of the Week. Episode CreditsHosts: Rob Bates and Victoria GomelskyEditor: Olivia BrileyProducer and engineer: Natalie ChometPlugs: (, @jckmagazine ( Show Recap 'A Murder Is Forever'A Murder Is Forever ( is Rob's first novel. It’s a mystery that's set in New York City's Diamond District. You’ll hear a little about the plot of the first book, which is available in paperback and e-book format on Tuesday. The Wristwatch At 100Victoria has a piece in Tuesday's in the New York Times, “The Wristwatch at 100 (” It’s a cover story for an international watch section, and she reflects on the past 100 years of wristwatches going back to World War I veterans popularizing the style. Rob and Victoria also spend some time talking about watches of the '80s. LVMH-Tiffany BreakupLast year, Tiffany finally succumbed to the advances of LVMH, the biggest luxury conglomerate in the world, after it received an offer of $16 billion. In the past two months, LVMH has called off the deal after receiving a letter from the French government advising the company to back out. Rob explains why he didn’t think the deal was a very good one in the first place. Both companies have filed lawsuits, so we’ll just have to wait and see what happens come January. 2020 Holiday Season RetailVictoria will be hosting a webinar on Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET for JCK: “7 Ways the 2020 Holiday Season Will Be Different and What Jewelry Retailers Should Do About It,” in which she’ll explain the importance of Zoom consultations. In preparation for JCK’s webinar, she sat in on a webinar about social commerce, in which the presenters described how commerce isn’t developed for shopping; it’s developed for transactions. The shopping experience is hard to re-create, and Victoria explains how social commerce can help. Weird Story of the WeekRob tells a story about Kyle Richards,

 Episode 28: Guest Andrea Hill | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 0:20:08

In This Episode In this edition of The Jewelry District, you’ll hear JCK editor-in-chief Victoria Gomelsky ( and news director Rob Bates ( talk with Andrea Hill, CEO of Hill Management Group. Andrea says that in order to stand out in this ever-evolving jewelry world, your company needs a story. The trio also covers climate change and technology. Listen Now[EMBED] Show Notes00:26 Rob and Victoria introduce Andrea Hill, CEO of Hill Management Group.05:57 Andrea describes what the jewelry industry is missing, based on past retail management experience.10:15 Building a successful jewelry business is all about telling a story, and Andrea explains what jewelers need to do just that.14:20 Climate change is real, and Andrea tells us about the “Kindness Economy.”15:13 Andrea serves in a mentorship role and leaves us the pillars to success. Episode CreditsHosts: Rob Bates and Victoria GomelskyEditor: Olivia BrileyProducer and engineer: Natalie ChometPlugs: (, @jckmagazine ( Show Recap Introducing Andrea HillBased in eastern central Wisconsin, Andrea started her tenure in the jewelry industry at Rio Grande. Before she made it there, she worked in a billiards store that started selling video equipment, making her store one of the first video rental stores in the country, pre-Blockbuster. She also worked at Playboy Enterprises, building up their licensing for videos and creating a video catalog. She then bounced around companies as a CEO before landing in the jewelry industry. What The Industry Is MissingAndrea describes her company, Hill Management Group, where she helps people get ready for entering the digital age. You’ll hear her discuss what she has learned from other industries and what the jewelry industry should be taking away from them. She emphasizes that your jewelry company can’t just be the oldest around anymore, as people no longer have to settle for their neighborhood store for jewelry expertise. Jewelry Retail As Storytelling Andrea talks about need to have a rich content strategy. In order to develop your brand in the most efficient way possible, Andrea says you need to know who you are, what you do that makes you different, and why you matter in order to succeed—and that’s just the start. You then need to merchandise your store with products that fit that theme, and someone should always be creating new copy for your website. Kindness EconomyPost-recession, the vast majority of us have accepted that climate change is real and happening, and that something needs to be done about it. We need to be aware of the fact that we are not the center of the world, and other spaces and living things matter too. Andrea describes what she calls the “Kindness Economy” and what customers expect from the retailers they buy from. The Jewelry Industry Should Be Fun Switching topics to the mentor work Andrea does—she argues that mainstream jewelry has become far too generic for its own good. She once again emphasized the importance of your store’s story, giving an example of this in practice. Andrea concludes by telling us all to learn, try new things,

 Episode 27: Art Deco, Department Stores, and Virtual Styling | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 0:22:03

In This Episode In this edition of The Jewelry District you’ll hear JCK editor-in-chief Victoria Gomelsky ( and news director Rob Bates ( talk about the enduring influence of art deco, the decline of department stores, and the rise of virtual styling. They’ll also cover a Weird Story of the Week that involves an antique ring and an unhappy fiancée. Show Notes00:30 Victoria discusses her New York Times article on art deco.07:19 Department stores are seeing a decline, and Rob explains why.12:54 Victoria believes that jewelers should also work as stylists and discusses how this process is going virtual.17:59 Rob brings back the Weird Story of the Week segment with the tale of an unhappy fiancée. Episode CreditsHosts: Rob Bates and Victoria GomelskyEditor: Olivia BrileyProducer and engineer: Natalie ChometPlugs: (, @jckmagazine ( Show Recap Art Deco Is Here To StayRob introduces an article from the New York Times that Victoria wrote, “Art Deco at 100: Jewelry Can’t Get Enough (” She covers the enduring influence of art deco and explains that the century-old style isn’t really making a comeback. Art deco has never really gone away. Many jewelers have defined their whole aesthetic by revisiting or reinterpreting the style. Victoria talks about some of the deco looks she’s most interested in. Brick-And-Mortar DeclineDepartment stores are on Rob’s radar right now, and he discusses how they are having huge problems. The big icons of American retail are suffering due to online shopping. Victoria asks Rob if there are any department stores that he sees plateauing or declining, and Rob emphasizes how those serving the middle class are suffering the most. Victoria delves into the omnichannel approach, and Rob raises what the decline of department stores means for jewelers. The Jeweler As Stylist Victoria brings up how jewelers can work as stylists, and how they should consider themselves to be stylists in the way that they help customers figure out how to incorporate jewelry into their existing wardrobe. Victoria has previously spoken to the founder of The Jewelry Edit, who wanted to “move the jewelry box from the back of the closet to the center of the wardrobe.” You’ll hear about how this process is going virtual as people with expertise show clients how to best accessorize their look. Weird Story of the WeekRob brings back one of our favorite segments, Weird Story of the Week, with a story from a publication called In The Know. He recounts the proposal by a woman to her girlfriend, who said yes. All was fine until the proposed confronted her girlfriend and said she didn’t want the ring that her girlfriend had spent months picking out, but instead wanted her grandmother’s antique ring. Rob and Victoria talk about whether it's ever okay to request (or demand) jewelry from a loved one.

 Episode 26: Guest Marla Aaron | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 0:23:51

In This EpisodeIn this edition of The Jewelry District, JCK editor-in-chief Victoria Gomelsky ( and news director Rob Bates ( interview Marla Aaron, jewelry designer and founder of her eponymous brand. They’ll be discussing Marla’s rise as a self-taught newcomer in the jewelry industry and how she built her online presence and jewelry business from the ground up. Listen Now[EMBED] Show Notes00:30 Rob and Victoria introduce New York City–based jewelry designer Marla Aaron.06:27 Victoria asks Marla how her background has affected her launch into the world of jewelry.11:43 Marla describes some of the more unconventional things her business has done.15:06 They discuss Instagram and Zoom as tools Marla uses in her business.17:23 Marla discusses her Lock Your Mom project.19:16 Victoria asks about Marla Aaron’s new jewelry collection. Episode CreditsHosts: Rob Bates and Victoria GomelskyEditor: Olivia BrileyProducer and engineer: Natalie ChometPlugs: (, @jckmagazine ( Show Recap Introducing Marla AaronVictoria and Rob kick off by introducing their guest Marla Aaron. She’s a jewelry designer based in NYC and known for her for her “emotional hardware”—her lock jewelry, which has been around since 2012. She had a 20-plus year career in marketing and advertising, but she’s always been obsessed with jewelry and hardware. She worked on creating jewelry for several years while holding onto her full-time job before leaping headfirst into the jewelry industry. She also recounts her fascination with hardware, which started in her youth, and historically traces back to the Victorian and Georgian eras. Marketing and AdvertisingVictoria asks if Marla’s background in marketing has at all affected her line of work, but Marla explains how much she is driven by her own passion, so much so that she says she has thrown out many things she believed to be an absolute truth in order to pursue her dream of designing jewelry. Marla explains how as a relatively new designer she put herself on the map. There were certainly some bumps in the road, but, luckily, Instagram was starting to take root at the same time, which helped her boost her company. Unconventional Business PracticeMarla Aaron is in about 40 stores around the world and has its own showroom in NYC. It's also opening a new showroom on 47th street in the next few months. The company doesn’t do consignment as it would limit Marla in what she could do. Marla describes some of the more unconventional things that her business does that makes it stand out. One of the most unconventional is its fine jewelry vending machine, and you’ll hear her describe this installation at the Brooklyn Museum. Self-Taught, Self-Built Online PresenceYou’ll hear Marla explain her company's online presence and talk about the second Instagram account that her customer experience staff runs. She also explains how she Zooms with her customers using two employees—one at the ready to show off the jewelry and one to answer questions. Her Instagram has 95,000 followers,

 Episode 25: Recapping JCK Virtual 2020 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 0:20:43

In This EpisodeIn this edition of The Jewelry District you’ll hear JCK editor-in-chief Victor...


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