A visit to Tucson in the dead of winter typically happens for one reason in this industry: gemstones. With long desert days dedicated to gems, minerals, beads, and fossils, Gem Week is a dream for both the jewelry designer and rock hound alike, allowing them to learn, discover, and, inevitably, take home and create a masterpiece to suit their findings. But when JCK took up residence in Tucson in 2014, it became clear that loose gemstones, though historically (and crucially) the biggest game in town, weren’t the only reason to attend Gem Week anymore.
JCK Tucson bills itself as the “Jewelry Industry’s Winter Oasis,” and the description is quite apropos: With many flocking from the chilly East Coast, this is indeed a respite from the blustery winds and sick-of-it-already snowfall that just won’t stop coming. And while the industry warms itself by the heat of gemstones new (like aquaprase), tried-and-true (beef up on that sapphire stock!), expected (there is no desert gem show without turquoise), and rare (what is that?), the show provides another category of goods waiting to enthrall: finished jewelry. In the spirit of creation, much of what’s on display exemplifies what it is to put any of the previously mentioned gemstones in their best light—through the gifted hands of jewelry artisans and brilliant minds of imaginative designers. So whether you jet to Tucson for loose gemstones or set ones, to do business with current brands or discover new ones—it’s these finished, gemstone-laden pieces that represent the heart of it all. This is what a beautiful stone becomes—one that, in the aisle of a gem show, perhaps, catches the eye of a passerby who finds herself unable to go home without it. Here are just a few of the treasures you can expect at JCK Tucson 2017.
Olive branch ring in 18k rose gold with 5.47 ct. cushion-cut pink tourmaline and 0.24 ct. t.w. diamonds, $9,580; Aaron Henry Designs
Turtle pendant in sterling silver and 14k yellow gold with 20 ct. blue-green tourmaline cabochon, price on request; Alexis Barbeau Designs
Swirling Brook bridal set in 18k yellow gold with 2.17 ct. peridot and diamonds, $800 (band)–$4,200 (ring); Audrius Krulis
Horizon necklace in oxidized sterling silver with moonstone and light-rose amethyst, price on request; Geoffrey Scott
Vedic collection necklace in 18k yellow gold with 4 cts. t.w. sapphire, $3,200; JS Noor
Vintage-inspired ring in platinum with 4.75 ct. tanzanite and 1.58 cts. t.w. diamonds, price on request; Lord Jewelry
Iris necklace in 18k yellow gold with 3.68 cts. t.w. black opal and emerald and 0.78 ct. t.w. diamonds, $5,775; Lauren K
Tower ring in 22k yellow gold and sterling silver with natural turquoise, $1,900; Michael Jensen Designs
Over the Moon necklace in oxidized sterling silver and 14k yellow gold with moonstone, $2,498; Nina Nguyen
Dancing Diamonds ring in palladium and 18k yellow gold with rose-cut ruby and 0.28 ct. t.w. diamonds, $3,995; Rona Fisher
One-of-a-kind ring in 18k yellow gold with 2.55 ct. rose-cut diamond, 0.44 ct. t.w. rose-cut diamonds, and 0.11 ct. t.w. brilliant diamonds, price on request; Todd Reed