Show cover of Barb Wire

Barb Wire

The mission of The Barb Wire is to provide listeners with real conversations with key personalities in the jewelry industry. Hosted by Barbara Palumbo, well-known writer, speaker and jewelry industry blogger (,, The Barb Wire first and foremost aims to avoid the arid nature of many instruction-oriented business podcasts and webinars.Instead, The Barb Wire offers engaging personal discussions with influential players shaping the future of jewelry retail. Says Palumbo, describing her podcast: “I don’t want to do interviews that sound like they were based on a batch of Power Point slides. Instead, each episode of this podcast should be more like having lunch with a couple industry friends, after a round of Negronis … or two or three.”


(Season 1, Ep. 11): Jenny O Calleri
Dropping into the Barb Wire for this month’s episode is Jenny “Jenny O” Calleri, the owner of Huntington Jewelers in Las Vegas, NV.A jewelry-industry veteran whose career has seen her move between the supply and retail side in both sales and management, Jenny O finally took her biggest step yet two years ago— becoming the owner of her very own store with the nearly 70-year-old Huntington Jewelers.In the podcast, she discusses what a transformative experience a GIA education can be for a young person in jewelry sales (12:40) and how, after she took her very first GIA gemstone course, she dropped everything — including a “super hot and heavy” relationship with her future husband — sold her house, and went to study at GIA in Carlsbad, CA. Jenny O also talks about her career, and the key lessons she has learned along the way that she is following as she builds the Huntington Jewelers brand. And, recently having had her third child, she describes the challenges of life as a working mom. (35:30) Plus, you’ll also hear why Jenny O believes that Liz Taylor is the ultimate and enduring jewelry icon (44:45).
67:58 11/4/19
(Season 1, Ep. 10): Ben Smithee
The Barb Wire celebrates its tenth episode with a visit from Ben Smithee, CEO at The Smithee Group (, a digital consultancy whose mission is "helping big brands think small and small brands think bigger". Talking with host Barbara Palumbo, Ben shares why he decided to originally focus his consultancy on the jewelry business (8:10), and Barbara refers to him as one of the industry's few true "influencers" online (11:10). He talks about his unique upbringing in Dallas as the adopted Asian son of white parents (17:00). Ben's passionate about social media, calling it "the great equalizer" for small businesses (29:30). And he later shares one of his pet peeves -- retailers who can't stop complaining about the things their customers do (32:50). He also cites a specific behavior that he believes, if a retailer performs it daily for the next 365 days, will guarantee them a six-figure increase in their sales (36:20). Later, Ben shares the specific sales pitch he uses with jewelers to convince them to invest in building their social media following (40:30).  
65:03 9/25/19
(Season 1, Ep. 9): Hayley Henning
Marketing colored gemstone is on the agenda when Hayley Henning visits The Barb Wire with host Barbara Palumbo.Henning is currently vice-president of Greenland Ruby, where she has been working the last two years after spending most of her career as one of the key faces behind the rise of Tanzanite since the mid-1990s. (In fact, Barbara says that before she knew Hayley personally, she thought of her as “the Tanzanite lady”.)The South African native shares some of her personal journey (2:55) from her homeland to a career in the U.S., working for a company called Afgem that eventually became the well-known Tanzanite One. Hayley calls the company’s efforts to market Tanzanite "the start of colored gemstone marketing as we know it today". (6:55)Now Hayley is involved in a similar effort to increase public and industry acceptance of Greenland ruby (12:10). Her company, Greenland Ruby, is the first business with government permission to mine, market and sell ruby material found in Greenland. Says Henning: "There is no real instruction manual on how to introduce a new gemstone to the gem and jewelry industry. But we're figuring it out."She is passionate about the story behind Greenland rubies. Says the executive: “It's not as though we went to some fancy marketing agency to say, "Alright, help us make up a story. We are telling the story of a gemstone that has been buried under ice and snow for nearly 3 billion years." (25:20)Later you’ll hear some of the work Hayley is doing with retailers to promote rubies from Greenland, as well as best practices for retailers looking to introduce new gemstone varieties.Want to learn more about marketing colored gemstones to your customers? Don't miss Hayley Henning on The Barb Wire.
58:00 8/24/19
(Season 1, Ep. 8): Craig Husar of Craig Husar Designs
Watch collectors, vintage jewelry, adventures in treasure hunting, and a showplace new store are on the agenda when jeweler Craig Husar steps into the Barb Wire this month. Husar is the owner and self-titled "Chief Romance Officer" at Craig Husar Fine Diamonds & Jewelry Designs in Brookfield, WI.Husar's spectacular new store, which is located opposite a major new lifestyle center, opened in January. Says the owner about the difficult store-creation process: “I was relentless. I’ve never been so focused and passionate about making something happen in my life. And it was that passion, that drive, that led me here. It was almost like, knowing somehow, that this was my destiny, to be here and nothing was going to stop me.”
50:05 7/8/19
(Season 1, Ep. 7): Doug Hucker of AGTA
Colored gemstones, and their increasing popularity with younger buyers are the key topics when Doug Hucker, long-time CEO of the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) is interviewed by host Barbara Palumbo on this month's edition of The Barb Wire.Doug shares the story of his path into the jewelry business, his years at GIA, his leadership of AGTA, and also talks about the increasing popularity of colored gemstones with new buyers, as well as the AGTA's participation in the new "The Collective" event during Las Vegas jewelry week this year.
57:03 5/27/19
(Season 1, Ep. 6): Nick Linca of Provident Jewelry
This month, the Barb Wire welcomes innovative jeweler Nick Linca, a managing partner with Provident Jewelry, a seven-store jewelry retailer. The business launched 25 years ago as a jeweler specializing in estate goods. However, in 2008, it moved in a new direction by opening a luxurious, state-of-the-art store in Jupiter, FL selling higher-end branded goods.Linca, who had been a manager at Zale in the late 1990s and a sales manager at Hamilton Jewelers from 2000 to 2008, was brought on to lead the launch of the Jupiter business.Over time, Provident Jewelry’s Jupiter location has achieved status of one of the country’s most impressive jewelry stores, selling brands like Baume-et-Mercier, Bell & Ross, Breitling, Carl F. Bucherer, Cartier, Chopard and more, and featuring amenities like a fully stocked bar and cigar bar for customers.Chatting with Barbara, Nick talks about the background of the business (2:00), and the importance of opening a store around the right people rather than the other way around (4:00). He discusses the mindset in opening the Jupiter store of creating a "third place" for customers, a la Starbucks — a place that is not work and is not home (6:45). Barbara raves about the quality of the drink bar and cigar bar at the Jupiter store (8:50).Nick loves that his customers can be out golfing and invite a friend over post-round to relax at the jewelry store (10:30). He shares how the team at Provident likes to "blow it out" and have fun with store events, including an upcoming "Bubbles and Bling" party (14:20).Barbara and Nick discuss Provident Jewelry's wide-ranging charity activities (14:30), including dog adoptions. And Nick shares the reasons why, over time, he has connected so much with independent watch brands (18:50) over time.One reason is loyalty. After a 2011 robbery in which Provident Jewelry lost more than $15 million in inventory, and were uncertain to survive. During that stressful period, Nick saw how some brands acted like partners, and others didn't (20:30).Watch discussion continues with Nick sharing how he used FaceTime to make direct sales to customers of newly released watches while in Basel (24:00). He also tells a story of an extremely unusual trade-in he received on a high-end watch recently (31:30). In the later portion of the podcast, Barbara asks her regular series of standard regular questions. In this section, Nick shares his dream industry dinner partner (33:50), refers to his 65-year-old clients as “millennials" (35:20); tells of the useful people skill inherited from his father that helps him (38:00); identifies his biggest fan (38:40); and shares his favorite four-letter industry word, which we think could become yours as well (40:10).He shares his favorite trade event (41:00), and talks of a few shockingly extravagant parties he has attended at this event over the years, as well as revealing the details of a fiendishly brilliant prank played with a chili pepper on a member of his travel party (44:10).
53:28 5/3/19
(Season 1, Ep. 5): Dave Bindra
This month on The Barb Wire, host Barbara Palumbo welcomes a rising star in the jewelry business, gem trader Dave Bindra, vice-president of B&B Fine Gems. Still in his early 30s, Bindra has built up an impressive resume, serving as president of the Los Angeles chapter of the GIA Alumni Association, member of the board of directors of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee, acclaimed AGS Conclave speaker, not to mention running a seriously cool Instagram account @gemfluencer. (Come for the awesome collection of gemstones, stay for the awesome collection of color-coordinated shoes.)Enjoy the newest episode of The Barb Wire. It's talk radio for the jewelry business.
50:28 4/3/19
(Season 1, Ep. 4): Michael O'Connor
Michael O'Connor drops into The Barb Wire this month to talk with host Barbara Palumbo about his career in the jewelry business -- which has featured one of the most unique development paths in today's industry.The two discuss Michael's progress from Toronto teenager to jewelry salesperson, to New York-based jewelry designer, to jewelry marketer, to QVC on-air presenter, and finally, his ultimate transformation into celebrity stylist and on-air style commentator for numerous major media brands.Discussion topics include techniques for staying young, the importance of being a no-BS operator, this year's Oscar trends, as well as some fun dishing on celebs. (For instance, Michael tells us which member of the Desperate Housewives cast is most fun to drink a margarita with.) Enjoy the newest episode of The Barb Wire. Think of it as talk radio for the jewelry business.
58:10 2/13/19
(Season 1, Ep. 3): Alexis Padis
In this episode of "The Barb Wire", host Barbara Palumbo talks — and plays a drinking game — Alexis Padis, director of operations at the successful San Francisco-area jewelry store, Padis Jewelry, plus the company's side business, Padis Vineyards. Padis is also the youngest member of the board of the American Gem Society and was a 2017 "Award of Excellence " winner from the Women's Jewelry Association.Discussion topics include the role of millennials in the jewelry industry, as well as unfounded prejudices against millennials in the jewelry business. The two discuss the rise of Padis Jewelry from her father selling puka shells out of his car trunk to an area fixture serving San Francisco's rising "Cloud Corridor" of key tech businesses. And also how her father's "side hustle" turned into a successful Napa Valley vineyard and wine label.The episode includes lots of drinks (the two challenge each other to finish a glass every time the word "Conclave" is mentioned), as well as shoutouts to John Carter (yet again), Cindy Chandler, Denise Richards, Joshua Israileff, Dave Bindra and more.Introducing "The Barb Wire". Think of it as talk radio for the jewelry business.
65:25 12/16/18
(Season 1, Ep. 2): Jen Cullen Williams
In the second episode of "The Barb Wire", host Barbara Palumbo chats with Jen Cullen Williams, the managing director of Luxury Brand Group, a communications agency for the jewelry and luxury industries.The episode includes in-depth discussion of industry trade events — including the dangers of “trade show arrogance” from certain monolithic trade events as well as the opportunities for industry events to better serve their audiences with new technology and focused education. But there’s also lighter discussion of trade show dress codes, the importance of careful shoe management during a trade event, as well as the towering personal confidence provided by zero-humidity “Vegas hair”.Introducing "The Barb Wire". Think of it as talk radio for the jewelry business. 
61:39 11/15/18
(Season 1, Ep. 1): John Carter
In her debut episode of "The Barb Wire", host Barbara Palumbo chats with her good friend, John Carter, the president and CEO of Jack Lewis Jewelers in Bloomington, IL, as well as the president of the American Gem Society (AGS).Their free-wheeling conversation covers child care, Adam Sandler movies, rocking out to AC/DC, and the funniest people in the jewelry business. But it also includes valuable intel on social media, website creation, marketing strategy and story-telling at one of the country's most innovative retail jewelry stores.Introducing "The Barb Wire". Think of it as talk radio for the jewelry business. 
59:22 10/14/18