Loose stones will have plenty of impressive company this year during the Tucson, Ariz., gem shows, thanks to JCK Events. According to Katie Dominesey, JCK Las Vegas and JCK Tucson industry vice president, the JCK Tucson show will be overhauled for 2016—“completely redesigned with the intention of celebrating design and community,” she says. Taking retailer feedback into consideration, the fair—which runs Feb. 3–7 at the JW Marriott Tucson Star Pass Resort & Spa—has been rebuilt “from the ground up.”
Among those changes: one ballroom with exhibitors vetted for design sensibility, and another for loose goods and findings’ makers; a design contest in collaboration with online retailer Uncommon Goods; an Instagram-based treasure hunt; and a fireside chat with boldface industry names Sarah Graham and Todd Reed, hosted by JCK editor-in-chief Victoria Gomelsky. Plus, recently appointed design ambassador Jacqueline Stone will serve as the eyes and ears of the design community, helping to source new talent and drum up excitement.
The show will welcome artists from the Contemporary Jewelry Design Group, a juried group of designers with distinct aesthetics. (CJDG member Reed, for instance, will be bringing men’s pieces, commitment styles, two-tone looks, and more.) A total of 126 vendors will be present, 26 of which will be in the design section, including Susan Wheeler. As for buyers, at press time, 2,100 (including 50 hosted VIPs) had registered, but Dominesey expects to reach 3,000 on-site once the show opens.
Naturally, JCK Events is excited about Reed joining the mix. “He started off his career at JCK so it’s apropos to have him return,” Stone says. “We’ve tightened our requirements to put the Design Center back on the map as a space renowned for passionate craftsmen who are truly building art.”
As for Reed, he’s enthused to rejoin the Tucson scene. “Fourth-quarter sales have been strong,” says the Boulder, Colo.–based designer. “Wholesale and retail are up from last year. We plan to keep the momentum going.”
(Top: Fossilized ammonite shell earrings in 18k gold with 0.34 ct. t.w. diamonds; $4,836; Susan Wheeler, Chicago; 312-968-6643; susanwheelerdesign.com)