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Reflecting on five years of Jeweller’s Hits & Misses

Jeweller’s annual Hits & Misses has reached the five-year mark, making it an ideal time to look back on the industry’s most unforgettable highs and lows.

In 2011, Jeweller managing editor Coleby Nicholson decided to end the year with a tongue-in-cheek review of the preceding 12 months. The result, christened Hits & Misses, was published for the final e-newsletter before breaking up for the Christmas and New Year period.

Fast-forward five years and Hits & Misses has become a staple in Jeweller’s annual calendar. Each year before the office closes for the festive break, readers can expect an overview of the industry’s highs and lows, surprises and shocks as well as a smattering of whimsical observations. 

In reaching the five-year mark, and for our special December issue, Jeweller thought it would be fitting to reflect on the stories that have cemented themselves in local jewellery history as well as award overall winners (no mean feat). Without further ado, we present our Hits & Misses five-year birthday review.

In keeping with tradition, Hits & Misses has been divided into specific ‘categories’
 
 

Biggest surprise

Michael Mishevski
Michael Mishevski

Gossipmongers went wild in June 2014 when news broke of Mishevski being asked to stand aside from his role as Showcase Jewellers CEO while an investigation was conducted into the buying group’s operations. At the time, an official statement by George Proszkowiec, chairman of JIMACO, the operating company of Showcase, explained the decision was made in response to “certain matters” raised by the group’s external auditors.

The rumour mill went into overdrive when Mishevski resigned one month later and the Showcase board took a stance of ‘no further comment’.

Two years on and an explanation has still not been provided – although rumours continue to circulate that Mishevski will return!

Overall winner: Michael Mishevski
Hit or Miss? Miss.....as in, the full story is still missing
 
 
 

What were they thinking?


Selecting an overall winner for this category wasn’t easy. Jewellery chain Zamel’s was well and truly up there because it was found guilty and fined for misrepresenting savings to consumers not once but twice! We have heard of going ‘back for seconds’ but that was plain dumb.

Trade magazine Jewellery World also believed in the Power of Two. In 2011, the publication decided to announce that it would hold a new jewellery fair one week prior to the 2012 Sydney trade fair. This was a second attempt given that five years earlier, Jewellery World Show 2007 was scheduled. Neither Jewellery World fairs eventuated.

For the non-mathematically minded, two is the base of the binary numeral system, which is why it’s an important number in computer science; however, it seems it does not hold the same weight in the jewellery industry!

While these ‘two’ previous award winners are definitely worthy 'What Were They Thinking?' recipients, the overall award must go to jewellers Roger and Georgette Aznavorian.

The couple was charged in 2013 with stealing 180 jewellery items valued at $2.4 million that were left at their jewellery store for repair, valuation or adjustment. The theft allegedly involved 170 victims – it’s bad enough to be stealing from customers but 170 of them! What were they thinking?

Overall winner: Roger and Georgette Aznavorian
Hit or Miss? Miss
 
 
 

WTF, OMG!


There are numerous stories that have made the Jeweller team think WTF OMG. Who could forget the ‘Dad’s Army’ responsible for the world (in)famous UK Hatton Garden heist? The crime was reminiscent of the elaborate thefts appearing in Hollywood movies, with the thieves reportedly abseiling down an elevator shaft before drilling through a two-metre-thick vault wall to gain access to the ‘treasure’. However, it was the fact that the group of thieves were men aged 48 to 76-years-old that really made us go WTF OMG.

Closer to home, we had the two thieves who mistakenly confused a KFC store with a jewellery store – thereby, getting away with chicken nuggets rather than gold nuggets.

Although ultimately, nothing can beat the lesbian love triangle that defrauded the Kings Jewellers owners of $1.4 million. Reported in 2012, the story offered serious lessons for all jewellery businesses – the saga involved crimes that resulted in store closures and 60 people losing their jobs – but we couldn’t avoid a wry smirk when searching for images to accompany an article about a lesbian love triangle with accusations of blackmail and fraud. No need for sensationalising the truth for a good story here. It really was a journalist’s dream.

Overall winner: Lesbian love triangle
Hit or Miss? Miss (win for journalists)
 
 

Best punch up

Martin Rapaport
Martin Rapaport
Philippe Mellier
Philippe Mellier

Our industry has witnessed some classic punch ups over the years and in 2014, Nicholson declared that the year’s Best Punch Up should perhaps be more appropriately called a cage fight. The battle was Martin Rapaport vs The Diamond Industry and it was over the rights and wrongs of diamond grading.

At the time, it was predicted that the brouhaha could go on forever because there was no referee and those predictions rang true with Rapaport being named victor of the category in 2015 as well.

The diamond maverick was forthcoming in his beliefs that rough diamond prices had been manipulated to artificially high and unsustainable levels and blamed the situation squarely on the shoulders of the then De Beers Group CEO, Philippe Mellier. Mellier stood down from his position at De Beers about six months after Rapaport’s remarks – coincidence?

That was 12 months ago. What will this year have in store? It seems there is no shortage of entrants in the local industry, which could well make Rapaport’s fight look more like a friendly bicker ... stay tuned for 2016 Hits & Misses.

Overall winner: Martin Rapaport
Hit or Miss? Hit ... as in kapow!
 
 

weird and crazy stuff


There have been some crazy winners of this award. Remember the famous yet reclusive Kiwi journalist Ken Raumati? Raumati shot to fame in 2011 when he declared he was writing an “investigative article” about the New Zealand jewellery industry. He claimed to know a lot of people in the industry but no one seemed to know him! 

Raumati disappeared as quickly as he ‘arrived’, leading many to believe he was really the famous Dick Diver masquerading as Ken Raumati. Given Dick Diver is a fictitious character, like Ken Raumati, we were all left none the wiser. Ken are you still out there?

As if that wasn’t wacky enough, along came the story in 2013 about a Brisbane thief who fled after stealing two diamond rings by swallowing them and who was then captured by staff after a chase through a shopping centre. This incident definitely comes up trumps in the Weird and Crazy Stuff category.

Police were called and the alleged thief, David Watts, was taken into custody and charged. However, what to do about the missing (swallowed) jewellery valued at $62,000? 

Well, Watts was held in custody until he was able to ‘pass’ the evidence. The $27,000, 1.53-carat yellow diamond ring was ‘recovered’ a few days later but the other, more expensive ring had disappeared. Wait, that’s not quite correct, it just never ‘came out’ in police investigations ... if you get our drift? 

It’s believed the authorities mistakenly discarded the second ring, valued at $35,000! What a crappy error, huh? 

Jeweller’s conundrum at the time was whether to declare the winner as the thief for swallowing the rings, the police officer who had to ‘handle’ the evidence or the storeowners who later decided to conduct an online charity auction for the ring!

Three years on and we still can’t decide. If that’s not weird and crazy then we don’t know what is.

Overall winner: Diamond swallowing thief (or the police officer, or the jewellery storeowners)
Hit or Miss? Hit or is that a Miss?
 
 

A GOOD NUMBER


Contrary to what some might believe, journalists love a feel-good story. So it is that there can only be one winner of this category. With all the doom and gloom pervading the current retail market, it was pleasing to report in 2015 of an independent jeweller who transformed his store into a vibrant and profitable business after facing closure two years earlier.

Jeweller first became aware of the retailer’s dire financial predicament in September 2013 when the owner wrote a heart-felt letter to Nicholson. The business had an annual turnover of around $1.6 million and was facing liquidation; however, two years later he had turned the business around and was approaching $3 million in revenue while generating healthy profits.

Jeweller recently caught up with the storeowner who said although he expected business to be down 30 per cent for this calendar year, the result was comparatively positive given the market conditions in his region.

It confirms the saying, ‘If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.’ 

Overall winner: Independent jeweller
Hit or Miss? Hit!

 

 

say what?



This category has two standout stories, both of which involve industry magazine Jewellery World. Even at the expense of being accused of taking shots at a competitor, it would be remiss to not call out Jewellery World for causing enormous industry confusion. In 2013, the magazine published a 16-page “Hot 100 Suppliers” feature. The author wasn’t identified but the story stated, “We asked our readers to tell us who their best suppliers are – and the votes are now in.” 

It was not lost on many readers that jewellery business Tuskc – which had previously closed its doors – received two awards in the Hot 100. No disrespect to Tuskc but one has to wonder how a business could be endorsed as a ‘best’ and ‘hot’ supplier one month and cease operations the next. The confusion didn’t stop there; while promoting the industry’s Hot 100 jewellery suppliers, only 70 businesses were listed. Whoops!

As if that confusion was not bad enough, the magazine’s communication skills were again called into question last year when it was announced Jewellery World would close after 34 years of publication. The magazine was purchased by another publication, Jewellers Trade, and the industry was advised in a statement that from July 2015, the magazine would merge under one masthead ‘Jewellers Trade incorporating Jewellery World’.

That was fairly straightforward until one month later the exact opposite was announced. A second industry statement declared that, actually, Jewellers Trade would close and become “one with Jewellery World and be published as Jewellery World”.

There’s that Power of Two again – two magazines would become one; however, not the one you thought but the other one! Say what?

Other mishaps and confusion transpired following the ‘merge’.

The media are supposed to be communication experts and so it’s a sad day when the media can’t accurately report stories about itself or themselves!

Overall winner: Jewellery World
Hit or Miss? Miss, as in mistakes and mishaps galore

Jeweller’s 2016 Hits & Misses will be published on jewellermagazine.com in December prior to the Christmas and New Year break. There’s no denying 2016 has been one of Australia’s most – if not the most – eventful years to date so it won’t be one to miss.
 
5 Years of Hits & Misses: Hall of Fame

Click on links below to read the original stories

Biggest Surprise
2015 – Pandora jewellery drops buying groups
2014 – Showcase Jewellers CEO asked to stand aside
2013 – Karin Adcock shock return to the industry
2012 – Pandora’s Karin Adcock calls time
2011 – Indian jewellery company buys Zamel’s

What Were They Thinking?
2015 – Police nab suspects over altered diamond reports
2014 – India tackles huge increase in gold smuggling
2013 – Jewellers steal $2.4 million from own store 
2012 – Zamel’s, making the same mistake twice!
2011 – Jewellery World, for making the same mistake twice!

WTF OMG
2015 – ‘Dad’s Army’ charged for Hatton Garden jewellery raid
2014 – Jeweller caught trading $2 million of stolen goods
2013 – KFC jewellery store finally unlucky
2012 – Lesbian love triangle defrauds jeweller of $1.4 million
2011 – Pointless polls produce meaningless statistics

Best Punch Up
2015 – De Beers blamed for diamond industry problems
2014 – Industry called to fight diamond over-grading
2013 – New ‘progressive’ jewellery group emerges
2012 – Jewellery association creates its own furore
2011 – New Zealand jewellery industry for a year-long punch up

Weird and Crazy Stuff
2015 – JANZ’S ‘secret’ apology to Jeweller
2014 – The backyard chicken farmer and avid cat lover!
2013 – Australian thief swallows diamond ring
2012 – Ellani Collections gaining 1,000 Facebook fans
2011 – Who is Ken Raumati?

A Good Number
2015 – Incredible business turnaround for jewellery retailer
2014 – Jewellery merger creates world’s largest retailer
2013 – Jewellery chain collapses owing $3 million
2012 – Ex Pandora man to launch ‘clicks and mortar’ stores
2011 – Young Jewellers Group hits three tonne

Say What?
2015 – Confusion over jewellery magazine closures
2014 – Diva jewellery stores shutting down, or maybe not!
2013 – Jewellery World Top 100 list only includes 70!
2012 – Man swallows diamonds at trade fair
2011 – Second place to Kiwis

 




















Tuesday, 24 July, 2018 01:48am
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