Summer 2019 Cutting Edge


MJA 2019 Fall Seminar Scheduled for Sunday, September 15

Mark Your Calendar and plan to attend MJA’s Fall Seminar on Sunday, September 15, at the Wilderness Resort in Wisconsin Dells. The Seminar kicks off with David Geller, Jeweler Profit, presenting “Fine-tuning Your Repair Department to Maximize Profits”. Are you getting the results you want from this important part of your business? Learn proven strategies for developing both your custom and repair departments.

Following lunch, which features JA’s “Cost of Doing Business Survey”, Nick Failla, Collected Concepts, presents “Team Building for the Holidays”. When the curtain comes up on the holiday selling season, make sure your sales team is ready to rock every opportunity! Nick will show you how to better manage sales behaviors to achieve better outcomes.

The MJA Gemmy Award Competition entries will be on display during the day where you will have an opportunity to vote for Jeweler’s Choice Award. If you plan to arrive on Saturday evening you are invited to Meet Your MJA Board of Directors while enjoying refreshments.

Register Today! For more information and registration go to our website at:


Check Out MJA’s Updated Website

MJA has recently updated the website and we hope you find it easier to navigate. All members are listed under the “Members” tab – if you don’t find your store name listed, contact the MJA office so we can get you on there. As with any new website, there may be some tweaking that needs to be done. You can access the website at:

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Nicole Van Zeeland from Jewelers Mutual Joins MJA Board

Nicole Van Zeeland, Sales & Events Assistant, from Jewelers Mutual Insurance Co. replaces Sheri Ihde on the MJA Board of Directors. We’re excited to welcome Nicole to the board and look forward to her perspective on new ideas, education and association involvement.

Sheri has served on the MJA board since 2015. Her work on the board has been monumental with her help and guidance in moving MJA forward and transitioning from the Wisconsin Jewelers Association to the Midwest Jewelers Association.

Membership Decals – Newest Member Benefit

Watch your mail for the new MJA Membership Decal/Window Cling for your membership 2019-2020. The board is asking you to proudly post the decal in your store front window or door so customers can see that you are a member of the Midwest Jewelers Association. Today’s millennials look for these signs of validation that you belong to an industry association as a trusted jeweler. The more our members show the MJA logo, the more consumers recognize you are a valued retailer and you support MJA’s mission of promoting the “Voice of the Jewelry Industry” through consumer awareness and they can “Buy with Confidence” from their Jewelry Professional.

How JA Hopes to Get Young Consumers Interested in Jewelry

By Emili Vesilind


Jewelers of America (JA) introduced elements of its forthcoming consumer marketing campaign to a small group of American Gem Society (AGS) members on opening day of the annual AGS Conclave in Seattle. The campaign, patterned after the iconic “Got Milk” dairy industry campaign, was designed to boost consumers’ interest and affinity in jewelry and ultimately present jewelry as an attractive purchase. According to JA, 94 percent of retailers and suppliers polled said they felt there was a need for such a campaign. Mark Smelzer, longtime publisher for JCK magazine and a consultant for JA, shared that JA has chosen Milwaukee-based advertising agency Cramer-Krasselt to build the campaign—and that several things are in place already:

  • The campaign is focusing on self-purchasing females that fall into two distinct demographics: the jewelry enthusiast in her 30s and women in their 20s who are “indifferent” to jewelry.

  • The campaign’s tagline, which will be iterated in various physical and digital spaces, is “Another Piece of Your Story,” referencing the idea (distilled by JA for the audience) that “the right piece doesn’t accessorize you—it becomes a part of who you are.” Self-empowerment is also a theme: Mocked-up ads included one that said, “First be your own rock, then get the ring to match.”

  • The campaign’s website will be—a phrase that speaks to embracing your finest personal qualities and the finest things you own, Smelzer explained.

  • Much of the imagery in the campaign has yet to be finalized, but presenters gave the crowd a sneak peek of stills from a video that’s been wrapped. The vibe of the models—and the scenarios they were captured in—was casual and joyful, the opposite of the static images that have dominated jewelry advertising for decades.

  • To give the audience an idea of the tone of the campaign, JA shared the script for the video, which begins with: “You had your eye on this for a long time. You finally took the plunge because, frankly, you didn’t have a choice. It was you, as much as your eye color, your laugh, and that scar you got hiking last year.”

The “Another Piece of Your Story” campaign is only partially funded—sponsors include Greenland Ruby, Artistry Ltd., Gemological Institute of America, Silver Promotion Service, Shy Creations, Gumuchian, JCK Industry Fund, Rahaminov, AGS, Gabriel & Co., and Forevermark. JA is hoping to raise another $200,000 from within the industry, with contributions starting at $5,000. “The reason the ‘Got Milk’ campaign was successful was because everyone was on the same page and using the same message,” said Amanda Gizzi, director of public relations and special events for JA. “If we sit back and wait for someone else to do this, it’s never going to happen. The time is now.” David Bonaparte, president and CEO of JA, chimed in with a succinct summation of the campaign’s reason for being: “Jewelry is losing marketshare to other categories,” he said. “We have to start somewhere, and I think the more we do this, the more we raise the profile of the category.”

- Original article:

JA Announces CASE Award winners – including MJA member Thomas Dailing


Jewelers of America has announced the winners of its 29th annual CASE Awards jewelry design competition. The CASE Awards, JA’s national design competition for jewelry retailers, recognizes JA Retail Members who exhibit creativity, artistry, style and excellence in jewelry design. First and second place winners were selected out of 54 entries from JA Retail Members.

MJA member Thomas Dailing, Lee Ayers Jewelers, Stevens Point, WI, took First Place in the category “Jewelry $5,001 to $10,000. Tom’s piece, “Nova”, is a 14K white gold pendant holding an 18.97 ct. concave faceted citrine, accented with 33 round diamonds (0,85 ctw.). Tom won First Place with this piece in MJA’s 2018 Design Competition.

MJA 2019 Design Competition Accepting Entries

The MJA Gemmy Awards design competition is open to all MJA members and non-members jewelers, designers and goldsmith who are interested in designing and creating a one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry that demonstrates creativity, artistry, style and excellence. There are five categories offered and entries must be received by August 23. The design pieces will be on display at the Fall Seminar in the Wisconsin Dells and attendees will have the chance to vote for Jeweler’s Choice at the conference. For more information about the Gemmy Awards competition, visit our website at:

Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company files plan to change structure, seeks flexibility in meeting future customer and market needs

Policyholder rights remain intact with creation of a mutual holding company

NEENAH, Wis. (April 18, 2019) – Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company has filed a forward-looking plan to become a mutual holding company to modernize its corporate structure while retaining its long-term focus and dedication to its policyholders – and preserving its mutuality. The plan was unanimously approved by the company’s board of directors and has been filed with the Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI). The plan is subject to OCI review and approval, as well as approval of existing policyholders of Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company later this year.

“When jewelers founded Jewelers Mutual over a century ago, they couldn’t have imagined the opportunities we’d have in front of us today,” said Scott Murphy, Jewelers Mutual president and CEO. “Today, the needs of our industry are changing, and we need to evolve to better serve the needs of our policyholders. “Modifying our corporate structure will allow us to continually support our customers and strengthen our company as we embrace advanced technologies and related product opportunities to serve our customers better.”

About the transition, which continues to emphasize mutuality

A mutual holding company allows a previous mutual insurer to transition into a stock insurance company, wholly-owned by the new mutual holding company, while maintaining critical policyholder rights. This change allows Jewelers Mutual to preserve its core mutuality and membership control while operating under a more flexible structure that better enables it to operate its core business and pursue further opportunities. “As a mutual company, an essential component to this transition was ensuring a way for our policyholders to maintain their policyholder rights,” shared Murphy. “This transition allows us to do so, all while more easily growing our product and service offerings to help support jewelry businesses and the jewelry industry long into the future.” The mutual holding company transition would not affect any of the company’s current coverages, premium rates, loss prevention, or claims-handling processes. Policyholders will see no change to how their policies are handled. Policyholders become a part of the new MHC with essentially the identical membership rights they have today, including the right to vote for board members at the company’s annual meeting of members.

Murphy noted the change would also allow Jewelers Mutual to extend membership rights, as defined by law, to policyholders of certain current and future subsidiaries of Jewelers Mutual who would not otherwise have these membership rights, all to promote and enhance the longstanding mutual company tradition of Jewelers Mutual. The mutual holding company would be legally domiciled in Wisconsin, joining Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company and its other subsidiaries. The board of directors and officers of the mutual holding company would be the same as the board of directors and officers of Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company prior to the change. Also, Jewelers Mutual board members, officers and other employees would not receive additional compensation, or any stock or other benefits, because of this change.

Innovation in support of – and beyond – insurance

Jewelers Mutual is dedicated to its policyholders and the jewelry industry and, as a result, has developed offerings beyond its traditional insurance products. By creating a mutual holding company, Jewelers Mutual will enhance its ability to innovate and bring new value to its customers – and the jewelry industry – with new ventures. In recent years, Jewelers Mutual has already taken steps to expand its product offerings, including its JM Shipping Solution and JM Care Plan solutions. The proposed structural change will better enable both of these existing services and new opportunities.

Next steps toward approval of the plan

Under Wisconsin law, the process to become a mutual holding company is subject to a public administrative hearing and prior approval from the insurance commissioner’s office. After those steps, the company would seek approval from eligible policyholders who would vote by proxy that is mailed or emailed to them with an information booklet that thoroughly explains the conversion plan. Policyholders could also vote in person at a special policyholder meeting. Dates for the administrative hearing, proxy mailing and policyholder meeting are still to be determined. The company hopes to complete the process by the end of 2029.


Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company was founded in 1913 by a group of Wisconsin jewelers to meet their unique insurance needs. Today, Jewelers Mutual offers products and services enabling jewelry businesses to run safe, secure, and successful operations. Consumers also put their trust in Jewelers Mutual to protect their personal jewelry and the special moments it represents. The company's strong financial position is reflected in its 32 consecutive ratings of "A+ Superior" from A.M. Best Company. To learn more, visit

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