Fall Favorites to be looking forward to in the Jewelry Industry

What does the end of summer mean for you? I have been traveling some and look forward to sharing that later in my posts. So the end of summer travel is approaching. Fall is almost here. So what does that mean for the jewelry industry and for you? It is the start of the upcoming holiday season! I am looking forward to the Fall fashion magazines, new jewelry collections and the auctions!

More specifically I am looking forward to the reopening of the Cartier Boutique in New York! For those that have been by Cartier on 52nd know that it has been under major renovations. Thankfully those renovations will soon be complete and you will be able to visit the store.

The September issue of Town and Country had focus of the Editor’s letter on the reopening and the story of how the mansion was first purchased by Cartier. I will be visiting when it reopens and reporting back.


I am also planning to continue my book reviews on jewelry topics.

I have many exciting posts planned for September. Some are of new launches of jewelry by friends, a social media series (how to improve your brand and focus), and events that celebrate events like a store opening. I would love to hear what you are looking forward to! I hope you come back soon and join my email list so that you can continue to learn about the ways data can improve your business and understanding of the jewelry industry.




Famous Jewelry Collectors

With summer in full swing many of you probably have plans for how you will spend your summer, trips to the beach, finishing outdoor projects, planning family outings, etc. Summer also has fewer jewelry auctions to preview and is traditionally a slower time for jewelry stores so not a lot of new inventory is in. How will I spend my summer to fill that void of jewelry? I plan on starting on a summer reading list focused on jewelry, book bling. So for the summer I plan to post once a week a book review of a jewelry book I have read. I went to the local library and found several that will be fun to learn about. My first deals with famous jewelry collectors. The book, Famous Jewelry Collectors, is by Stefano Papi and Alexandra Rhodes published in 1999.  Here is the cover:


I saw this cover and knew this book was off to a great start. I have featured several of the Duchess of Windsor’s jewels on my Instagram and consider her jewels the finest collection I’ve ever seen!

The chapters about the collectors are broken out into three groups by their social class.

1: Screen Actresses and a Diva

Merle Oberon – Mary Pickford– Ava Gardner –  Paulette Goddard – Joan Crawford- Renata Tebaldi


2: Aristocracy

Cornelia, Countess Carven-Gladys Duchess of Marlborough-King Umberto II of Italy-The Princess Royal, Countess of Harewood – The Princes von Thurn und Taxis – The Duchess of Windsor


3: Society

Countess Mona Bismarck – Lydia, Lady Deterding – Daisy Fellowes – Ganna Walska – Barbara Hutton – Helena Rubinstein


I want to then look at one collector from each group to highlight their story and jewels.

1: Screen Actresses and a Diva: Merle Oberon


I have always admired Ms. Oberon’s work. If you haven’t seen Wuthering Heights (1939) (photo of scene below) costarring Laurence Oliver, it is a must!


Her striking features were due to being born to a mother who was Indian and a farther that was British. He died when Merle was a small child, which had her and her mother relocate from Bombay to Calcutta. The fact her mother was dark skinned created a lot of prejudice against Merle and left her ashamed of her past. Her background was kept secret when she became a star. How did Merle go from India to Hollywood? With her stunning looks she always had admirers and one of them offered her a chance to go to France when she was in her late teens. The fling ended when the man met Merle’s mother but now with her in France she found another man who offered her a part in a film he was directing. She moved to London where she worked as a hostess at a café while getting small roles. As she climbed up the ladder to stardom she had suitors and husbands that gifted her with amazing jewels. One of my favorite pieces is a necklace by Cartier bought in London, 1938. The beads are emeralds with diamond spacers (pictured below).


Another fun set to see was a set of brooches in turquoise and diamonds by Van Cleef & Arpels (below).

Merle_brooches_turqMerle also had earrings and a necklace to match. She also wore some of her real jewels in her movies. The 1967 movie, Hotel features the turquoise necklace and earrings. The 1938 movie, The Divorce of Lady X, also features an antique emerald and diamond necklace owned by the actress as she costars again with Laurence Oliver. I could not get a good photo of that stunner for this post. Many of her jewels were auctioned by Christie’s in April 1980 after her death in 1979.

2: Aristocracy: Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough


The next collector I chose because of her story being unique to all the others in this group. Although it is the usual start with Gladys being very beautiful and charming, pursued by many eligible bachelors. Gladys declined their advances and pursued learning, mastering new languages and increasing her knowledge of art. This was rare for a woman, especially one in high society to not marry, but Gladys had an independent spirit. Her admirers gifted her with jewels throughout her years. One in particular was the Duke of Marlborough, she met him in 1897 when she was about 16 years old and he was 26. The Duke was engaged to a Vanderbilt whom he married but always kept in touch with Gladys.  He was married 26 years to his first wife when he had it annulled and finally got Gladys to marry him when was now 40. She was hesitant because she loved her life without constraints. She did get some major perks and one of them was the jewelry. Below is an imperial pearl and diamond tiara.


This belonged to the Romanovs, the Duke bought it after the Bolsheviks sold it and other items of royalty off. Another item of great beauty is this amethyst and diamond sautoir by Cartier, a great example of art deco jewelry (picture below).


The marriage was not successful they separated in 1933 and the Duke died in 1934. She disappeared out of much of the public view. She was tracked down by a biographer whom heard of her through mentions in a diary by an admirer. The biographer found her in a little village and got her story. She died in October 1977 at age 97 and her jewels auctioned in 1978.

3: Society:  Helena Rubinstein

I had not heard of this woman until reading this book. Helena Rubenstein is the founder of the beauty product line that bears her name. Helena was born in Poland in 1870 and traveled to Australia at 18 to spend time with her brother’s family. She packed several jars of beauty cream with her for the harsh Australian weather. She shared this cream with her new Aussie friends who were happy with the results. The cream was not invented by her but she ended up partnering with the maker to open shops in Australia to sell this cream.  She married and had children but continued building her businesses. The jewelry was mostly bought by her. She would buy what she called ‘quarrel jewelry’. When she and her husband would have disagreements she would indulge herself with a beautiful piece of jewelry.


She loved chunky jewelry which I found interesting because of her petite size. She height was only 4’10’’. She acquired quite a bit of jewelry and in this book it had a story about her experience with airport security. Her jewels were sold big and colorful that Helena would lie and say they were costume and security always believed her! Below are some photos of her and her jewelry.


I really enjoyed this book and could not cover it all in one post. I hope the women I highlighted help guide you into reading more on them or finding other books that give more details into the life of the collector. Please let me know your thoughts or if you have a question about this book! Look for more book reviews this summer!


Viewing Cartier’s Paris Nouvelle Vague Collection in Boston

Hopefully the weather was good for you over the weekend! In Boston it was great weather to be out and plenty of people were! Newbury Street in Boston, a historic street with luxury stores, was crowded with everyone from college students dining outdoors to the tourist crowd walking the street with Chanel bags. I was walking down Newbury Street to view a collection I had seen an ad for on Facebook.

On Friday afternoon I checked my Facebook and saw a sponsored post from Cartier. (See below)


I don’t know if you have purchased an ad on Facebook but in many cases you can get insights on how many have viewed or liked the post. Above you can see the interactive button has a contact us button. Clicking on it only led to the US Cartier homepage with the Boston store hours. If I had been Cartier I would have created an event so you could see who was interested, not just who liked the post. Also an event reminder on Facebook could encourage those that marked they were interested into going before it’s too late.

That post was enough of an invite for me to go see the collection on Saturday and I’m so glad I did. The store was busy so I looked around and found the display in the back of the store, the pieces were divided into four sections. I have photos of two of them below.



After a few minutes a representative of Cartier took me through the cases and explained the meaning behind the collection which I am thrilled to share with you! The photo behind the jewelry in the case is of Paris. The four different display cases each represent a different part of Paris. For example the photo on the left is of the domed building in Paris. A close up of one of the rings in the case is below.


I love the architecture style of this diamond and pink gold ring!

The second case had several pearl items such as the ones below!

Ring made with pink gold, freshwater pearls and diamonds


Ring made with pink gold, morganite, spinels, cultured freshwater pearls

In the third case,was this ring and bracelet set, that moves or trembles when worn.



Both the bracelet and ring (above) are made with yellow gold, diamonds, lapis lazuli and chrysoprase!

Another fun looking ring appears to be multiple rings but is really one ring! The ring is made of pink gold, chalcedony, turquoise, lapis lazuli, moonstone, aquamarine, sapphires and diamonds. I really love the variety of stones in this one!


The final case had a ring similar to this black jade, diamonds yellow gold ring (pictured below). The black jade ring was on display in the window. There were other rings, one in blue chalcedony,white gold and diamonds, the other in chrysoprase and yellow gold (they are featured on the Facebook post above).  I tried the chrysoprase ring on and found it surprisingly light! Also it is the lower priced of the three rings at $32,700. The black jade retails for $48,300 and the chalcedony is the highest at $52,000.


I did mention to the representative I had seen the Facebook Ad and came because of it. I left with a better understanding of the collection, something that is missing on the website. It was a well spent afternoon. If you are interested in seeing more pieces from the collection you can click the link to be directed to the collections site on Cartier in the US.

I hope you like this post! If you are in the Boston area I recommend you check out the collection at Cartier, it’s up through May 31st! If you have any questions please let me know in the comments, others may be wondering the same thing! Check back soon for more posts!


Harvard Retail & Luxury Goods Conference: How Brands like Cartier are blending their Heritage with Data Analytics

Harvard Business School hosted the 12th Annual Retail and Luxury Goods Conference with a daylong event on February 21. Brands represented at the conference included Richemont, Baume & Mercier, Cartier, Marc Jacobs, Tory Burch and other retailers. The theme of the conference was Reinventing Retail. I attended the conference and felt that the brands I heard were having a message of blending their traditions with insight’s from data. I will include my key takeaways from the two sessions I attended: The Future of Tradition and Innovation with Insight.

The Future of Tradition


  • Mercedes Abramo, President & CEO, Cartier North America
  • Michelle Giguere, Director of Buying, Tory Burch
  • Scott Cameron, Chief Strategy & Business Development Officer , Canada Goose
  • Jody Hall, Chief Food Adventurer & Director of Sourcing, HEB Grocers
  • Pippa Morgan: Executive Vice President-Retail Division, Aritzia


The Future of Tradition panel
The Future of Tradition panel


*Online Store

The biggest issue with online shopping was how to create the online experience that is true to the brand’s in-store experience. Mercedes Abramo (Cartier) also talked about trying to find out how high a price point could be online to buy jewelry. For Cartier like other retailers it is a trial and error process. Luxury especially jewelry has been later to the online market. Pippa Morgan (Aritzia) had the best explanation and advice, “measure twice, cut once”. Execution is crucial for the online market.

*Social Media

What has worked for luxury brands? The panel talked about success with Instagram in reaching and interacting with customers. Mercedes Abramo (Cartier), claimed YouTube was the best channel in reaching a Cartier customer. The reason was due to needing longer amounts of time to educate potential buyers on a product. Instagram is only a photo or a 15-second video, not enough to give the detail necessary to tell Cartier’s story.

The final thoughts were to look to your physical store for answers. You have a chance to talk to your customer and see what they are experience. Do not think that being involved in the stores daily activities is beneath you, it is a great resource. My thoughts for those with only an online presence be on your website and see if you can get feedback from customers and employees.


Innovating with Insight


  • Omer Artun, CEO/Founder, AgilOne
  • Paul Hatch, Senior Marketing Director, Walmart
  • Thibault Munier, Co-Founder/COO, Numberly
  • Jessica Schinazi, Senior Manager-Marketing Service & Business Development, Richemont North America
Innovating with Insight panel
Innovating with Insight panel


*Customer Insights with data

The speakers on the second panel had very clear views on the actions needed to innovate their company. The major need was how to get away from the single view of a customer and use the data mined to be more responsive to that customer’s shopping experience. One suggestion was to get away from the ‘silos of data’ and to start to create data action strategies. The benefits of getting a better understanding of different customers can create new marketing opportunities. Jessica Schinazi (Richemont) gave one example of how insights from their data provided them answers on a new type of customer group. There was increased activity of online shoppers in the Midwest. Richemont has stores in the area but they found out these customers were Chinese students coming to college. So Richemont discover a ‘micro group’ that it could understand how to serve better. Paul Hatch (Walmart) also added that understanding the data benefits the customer by using the insight to improve the mix of product in the store.

*A/B Testing

Another topic was A/B testing in order to find out which way was best in customizing the online experience. One tip was to add common sense to your algorithms. You do not want to run into the ‘Bread and Bananas’ issue, if a person has bread in their basket they will most likely buy bananas. So instead of recommending bananas (that the customer will most likely buy anyway) try to get another product that they might want so that you can increase the items in that basket.


The final thought were not focusing exclusively on the data but take time to talk to the people involved in the business and learn all you can about your company’s core business.

Baume & Mercier ad at the conference
Baume & Mercier ad at the conference

The conference was a great event for me. In addition to meeting the panelists, I ate lunch with an employee of Baume & Mercier who talked about how his passion for the watch industry lead him to the job he holds now. He worked at Hertz, before landing his dream job. If you are in the Boston area in February of 2017, I highly recommend attending the Harvard Retail & Luxury Goods Conference. Sign up for my email at the top right of the page to keep up to date on more posts!