Spring 2018 Cutting Edge


MJA Facebook Group Keeps Growing – Join the Group Today

The MJA Facebook Group Page continues to grow with over 240 people participating. Members and industry professionals are posting questions, industry news, situations wanted information and more! If you haven’t already joined our page, join today and be a part of your MJA community. Join at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/599516013578845/

MJA Offers GIA Diamond Grading Lab


The Midwest Jewelers Association is hosting the GIA Diamond Grading Lab April 30—May 4, 2018. The session is sponsored by Jewelers Mutual Insurance Co. in Neenah, WI, where the class will be held. The session is limited to 15 participants and there are a few spaces left. The Diamond Grading Lab Session is required for the GIA Graduate Gemologist diploma. You do not need to take the online class first. Full payment is due with your application. No refunds after March 1, 2018. For more information and to register, visit our GIA Lab Page.

Gem Identification Lab
The Gem Identification Lab will be held August 6 - 10, 2018. Registration will be mailed out separately. Contact the MJA office if you would like to be put on the wait list.

Experienced Bench Jeweler Position Available

Lasker Jewelers is seeking an experienced Bench Jeweler to work at their Rochester MN location. The ideal candidate is a detail-oriented jeweler who will provide quality craftsmanship for repairs, setting, resizing and cleaning services. Design and custom work capabilities preferred. The job is full-time position.


  • Ten years previous jewelry repair and/or design experience

  • Gemologist, GIA or JA Bench Jewelers certification a plus

  • Experienced with both torch soldering and laser welding

  • Proven written and verbal communication skills

  • Articulate; able to interact with clients on occasion

  • High School Diploma/Equivalent or better.

Lasker Jewelers offers a comprehensive compensation program that includes insurance, 401k and merchandise discounts. Work for a family-owned jeweler that has a long-standing reputation in the Rochester marketplace.


Melisa Skustad, Operations Manager

MJA Presents $80,000 to CASA Programs

The MIDWEST JEWELERS ASSOCIATION presented a $40,000 check from Jewelers for Children to the Dane County CASA Program and another check to the Milwaukee CASA and Kids Matter. The contribution helps increase the number of volunteers who represent the best interests of abused and neglected children in court. JFC, a non-profit organization founded by the jewelry industry in 1999 is dedicated to helping children in need. The award is part of a $450,000 grant that JFC made to the National Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Association. Richard Kessler, Kesslers Diamonds, presented the check to Kids Matter/Milwaukee CASA. John Hayes from Goodman’s Jewelers, Madison, presented the check to Dane County CASA. John also had the honor of presenting a $5,000 check to UWKidsCancer at the American Family Children’s Hospital on behalf of JFC.

JA’s CASE Award Announces Winner of the People’s Choice Award – And the Winner is MJA Minnesota Jeweler

For 28 years, Jewelers of America's design competition for jewelry retailers has celebrated the custom design craftsmanship found in the jewelry stores of JA Members nationwide. Fifty-six pieces were submitted into the 2018 competition and were judged creativity, artistry, style and excellence in design. The winner, Bernie Benavidez (Master Jewelers Inc.; Rochester, MN) won for his Madeira Citrine pendant. Other MJA members whose pieces were entered are: Karin Burg, The Corner Studio, WI; Sara Commers, Commers Custom Jewelers, MN; Tom Dailing, Lee Ayers Jewelers, WI; John Langenfeld, Gold Diamond & Designs, WI; and Rita Ward, Barnes Jewelers, WI. Way to Go MJA Members! Congratulations to all the winners! All pieces can be seen on JA’s website at: https://www.jewelers.org/news/jewelry-contests/805-caseawardsvote-2018.

VISA Updating Their Transaction Integrity Fee

Today, the VISA Integrity Fee is charged when a merchant processes a U.S. Domestic VISA debit or prepaid card and it doesn’t qualify for Customer Payment Service (CPS) interchange. As of April 13, 2018, VISA will update the criteria to also assess the fee when you process a credit product, including consumer, corporate, purchasing and business and it does not qualify for CPS interchange.

U.S. merchants will see a new fee on their merchant reports to represent when a merchant has been charged for a credit card product, and the existing fee will be renamed to clearly represent when it applies to debit or prepaid. Here are the details:

Fee Name:
Transaction Integrity – Credit $ .10
Transaction Integrity – Debit/PP* $ .10

Previously named Transaction Integrity Fee

Effective with April 1, 2018 transactions, if a merchant processes customer not present, unattended terminal (excluding Automated Fuel Dispensers), or fast food restaurant transactions, your fee may change depending on their tier level. For more information, please contact your payment processor.

What is the Visa Transaction Integrity Fee and How Can I Avoid It?

Today, the Primary CPS qualifications for Card Present Debit & Prepaid:

  • Cardholder and card present, signature obtained, single electronic authorization, merchant name, city, and state included in authorization, read & transmit complete magnetic stripe, transaction settled within 1 day of authorization, authorization response data included in settled transaction. Clearing amount must equal authorization amount except for the following sic codes: 4121 (Taxicabs/Limousines), 5813 (Bars-Taverns), 7230 (Barber and Beauty Shops), 7298 (Health and Beauty Spas).

How can I Avoid the Transaction Integrity Fee on Card Present Sales?

  • Always settle your transactions within one day of authorization. This means always batch out your terminal, POS, or payment gateway at the end of every day’s business. We recommend making settlement part of your end-of-day cash out procedure and having your terminal programmed for either terminal or host-based auto settlement as a back-up.

  • Always read & transmit complete magnetic stripe data. If you have an older terminal or you frequently must key in sales because it can’t read the card when you swipe, or it takes several swipes to get a card to go through, consider either cleaning the card reader or upgrading to a new terminal. Card readers can be cleaned using Card Reader Cleaning Cards, or you can try wrapping a dollar bill around a card.

  • Always authorize and settle for the same amount. If a customer changes an order before the day’s settlement, always void the original order and start over. Do not adjust the amount of the existing order. If you are processing Retail with Tips because your Merchant Category Code isn’t exempt (like Dog Grooming) consider getting the tip amount prior to authorization so you don’t have to perform Tip Adjust. If you are processing more than one MCC under a single merchant ID, and one of the MCC would be exempt (like a Hotel with a Restaurant) consider getting an additional merchant ID for the exempt MCC.

  • When terminal asks for zip code verification – cashiers should never over-ride the prompt!

What exactly are laboratory grown diamonds?

By: Soha Javaherian, GG, Soha Diamond Co.


First and foremost, without the natural “mined” diamond industry, there would be no laboratory-grown diamond industry. With varying opinions from industry experts, jewelers, and consumers, there is currently no consensus of what place laboratory grown diamonds have or will have in our industry. As of this writing, consumers are forming their opinions on both natural “mined” diamonds and laboratory grown diamonds.

Among other things, what makes a diamond special is that it’s on top of the gemstone food chain. It has and always will be the true heirloom quality gemstone that every other gemstone is benchmarked against in terms of Gemological properties and beauty. In order to protect and educate the end consumer from misinformation about laboratory grown diamonds, everybody involved in the supply chain all the way to the retail jeweler needs to disclose the laboratory-grown nature of the diamond. The integrity of our industry depends on it. As retail jewelers, we are the key decision makers of where to source, what to stock, and how well we educate our shoppers. We are on the front lines of making or breaking our shopper's impression, experience, and confidence in what we offer. All of the above are dictated by our decision and actions, of which either aid or degrade our industry's credibility.

The good news is that third-party Gemological laboratories worldwide like GIA, IGI, and GCAL all have reports that disclose laboratory grown origins and laser inscribe the girdles denoting “Laboratory Grown” or “LG” followed by a unique serial number.

Laboratory-grown diamonds are commonly referred to in the market as:

  • Synthetic

  • LabGrown

  • ManMade

  • Cultivated

  • Cultured

  • Manufactured

  • Produced

  • Grown

In Gemological terms, they are not any of the following:

  • Simulants

  • Glass or Plastic

  • Assembled Stones (like doublets or triplets)

  • “Hybrid” (combination of materials with diamond-like overgrowth) In Gemological terms, they are identical to naturally occurring diamonds in the following ways:

  • Refractive Index

  • Specific Gravity

  • Chemically

  • Physically

  • Optically

  • Durability (Hardness, Toughness, & Stability)

The ability to grow diamonds is something that is still, even in 2018, hard to believe. It’s truly an amazing feat of humankind to have replicated the process to such a high degree of accuracy that the end result bears its name. With proper documentation and disclosure, they, along with other gemstones, have a place in our industry.

Ransomware Protection for Jewelers: Prevention and Response Tips

Brought to you by Jewelers Mutual Insurance Group

When most jewelers talk about the security of their businesses, they think in terms of safes, alarms, and vaults. While robberies, thefts, and burglaries are still the most real threats, cyber-attacks are becoming a major concern. As technology continues to evolve and become more sophisticated, criminals are developing tactics to target your assets without ever stepping foot in your business. One of those tactics is ransomware and it can severely hinder businesses that are impacted by it. In an age where even the most run-of-the-mill businesses and individuals are targets, ransomware protection for jewelers is an absolute necessity.

What is a Ransomware Attack?

Ransomware is a virus that can attach itself to a very harmless looking email or website, often from a legitimate-looking company. Once opened or activated, the virus infects your files and requires a “secret code” to be removed. Then, a ransom note appears on your screen, typically demanding a certain amount of money to receive the code. Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that the hackers will provide the code in return, and even if they do, you won’t know if the code will actually unlock your files until after you have transferred money. An example is the WannaCry virus, which brought ransomware attacks to the mainstream spotlight in 2017 and has made people in every industry take cyber threats more seriously.

How to Prevent a Ransomware Attack

Aside from the costly implications of a ransomware infection, imagine being unable to process any transaction through your network for days or weeks!

Follow these tips to protect your jewelry business from ransomware attacks:

  • Only use secured wireless providers to gain internet access and encrypt your router to protect your connection.

  • Computers should be frequently checked with anti-malware, anti-spyware, and anti-virus software.

  • If you are on a website that seems suspicious, leave it immediately.

  • Run ad-blocking applications on corporate machines.

  • Limit employee access to data and information, and limit authority to install software.

  • Confirm computer screens and confidential information is out of sight of your customers and visitors.

  • Properly dispose of sensitive information by destroying or wiping hard drives.

  • Back-up your information.

  • Create a plan.

How to Respond to a Ransomware Attack

If your business does experience a ransomware attack, contact law enforcement immediately. Any attack on your business should be reported to the police so they can record any hacking incident. If customer data —such as credit cards details — is lost, you will need to notify the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FBI also has a website devoted to reporting internet fraud, known as the Internet Crime Complain Center or ic3.gov. If you believe sensitive information — such as customer data — has been compromised in the attack, you may want to contact an attorney for advice. There are laws that require you to notify your customers and you may face fines as a result of a potential data breach.

Extra Protection from Cyber-Attacks

No jewelry business should be without a properly functioning alarm or fortified safe, and now it’s clear that no business in general should be without protection from cyber threats like ransomware.

Similar to protecting your inventory from a robbery with jewelers block insurance, ransomware protection for jewelers is available with cyber liability insurance.

A cyber liability policy from Jewelers Mutual goes beyond ransomware, too. It also guards against threats like*:

  • Phishing schemes

  • Income loss, interruption expenses, and data recovery costs

  • Fines or penalties due to non-compliance with payment card standards

Discuss the details of a policy with a Jewelers Mutual agent for additional peace of mind.

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