Professional Jeweler Archive: A Brighter Idea

July 2004

Image/Display Lighting


A Brighter Idea

Econo-Lite's owner prepares new store lighting technology


When George Lavatis gets an idea, look for a metal halide bulb to appear above his head. As president of Econo-Lite, Jersey City, NJ, Lavatis is among the pioneers of metal halide lighting use in jewelry stores.

In his search for lighting with the best color, fewer hot spots and ease of operation, Lavatis works to improve how jewelers can best display jewelry. Five years ago, input from jewelers led him to develop a metal halide fixture that brings out the genuine color and brilliance of jewelry.

“Retailers told me they wanted brighter lights with the correct color,” he says, noting that for years halogen light appeared too yellow. This required using new ceramic metal halide bulbs that have a 4,100&Mac251; Kelvin color temperature.

New Product

This year Lavatis says he has improved the original ceramic metal halide technology. The newest units, called CDM 70 T6, share most of the properties of current products but offer some advantages.

“The new product is a T6 ceramic metal halide bulb, but it has my own enclosure that best uses the potential of the high color temperature,” he says. “It’s easier to work with because there’s no hot spot that some people notice about metal halide lighting.”

The new recessed ceiling units also will last for 15,000 hours vs. 10,000 hours for which most units are currently rated.

Most importantly, the bulb and ballast are interchangeable with the still widely used halogen MR 16 recessed ceiling units (fixture and transformer).

“The jeweler gets the better color of metal halides, a wide light spread and more hours without cutting into the ceiling,” he says.

For those not interested in fully replacing ceiling-mounted fixtures, Lavatis says by placing one new T6 metal halide bulb in a 3-ft. area (or about one new unit to every three halogen fixtures), you gain the advantages of the new bulbs without completely retrofitting the store. When completed, you can turn down the wattage from the typical 50 watts for halogen lighting to 35 watts, saving energy costs.

For new stores, the wider light spread means the ceiling will need fewer recessed units installed.

  • Econo-Lite, Jersey City, NJ; (800) 345-9652.

– by Michael Thompson

Metal halide fixtures, designed with jewelry stores in mind, bring out the true colors and brilliance of diamonds, gemstones and jewelry. Econo-Lite has developed an enclosed ceramic metal halide recessed unit. The bulb and ballast are interchangeable with previous-generation fixtures.

Copyright © 2004 by Bond Communications