Overheard at JCK Las Vegas 2017

Between last Thursday’s conclusion of the 2017 edition of JCK Las Vegas and this morning, I’ve been to London and back. No joke! After what felt like my busiest show ever, I hopped on a plane on Thursday afternoon to make it to the wedding of my dear friends Marianne and Sandro. The reception took place on a gloriously sunny Saturday on the perfectly manicured grounds of a 16th-century mansion in Essex. Being there to watch my friends exchange vows made the cross-continental haul worth it.

On the long flight home, I read over the notes I’d taken during my week in Vegas. There were a number of recurrent topics and themes—millennials, customization, stackables—but the one that stood out had to do with the state of business, which Ann Arnold, chief strategy officer at Buyers Intelligence Group (BIG), summed up like so: “From the vendor side, they’re all talking about what a great show they’re having.”

Though it’ll take some investigating to determine what, specifically, accounts for the good feedback (pent-up demand? low expectations?), I’m happy to say that I heard the same refrain as I walked the show. In addition to anecdotal reports of healthy buying, here are a few other intriguing things that people told me, or I overheard, at JCK this year:

“Don’t be afraid to bring on someone who’s failed, as long as they’ve failed with integrity.”
—Kathy Ireland, chairman, CEO, and chief designer of Kathy Ireland Worldwide, during her keynote speech on opening day of LUXURY

“We had the modern bride in mind—someone nontraditional. But we kept it simple with the solitaire look and a touch of diamonds on east-west points.”
—Nadine Tacorian Arzerounian, head designer of Tacori, on the brand’s new “directionally chic” line of engagement rings

A selection of new Tacori engagement rings featuring center stones set horizontally

“The retailers who are doing well—they’re smart, they’re investing in their businesses, they’re making connections to local bloggers, they’re looking beyond their four walls.”
—Robin Scheer Ettinger, chief marketing officer at Frederick Goldman, whose Scott Kay and Karl Lagerfeld brands both exhibited at LUXURY

“We’re trying to differentiate the halo—because it’s not going away, but how do you make it different and unique?”
—Allison Goodman, vice president of merchandising at Frederick Goldman

“Imagine having a personal shopper online with you.”
—Dominick Gabriel, cofounder and head designer of Gabriel & Co., referring to an artificial intelligence application the brand has spent the past eight months developing that will be able to identify consumer’s likes and interests based on their searches

“Until half an hour ago, we were swamped.”
—Jennifer Chang, president of Jye’s International, at the end of day two of LUXURY

“I’ve never come up with so many ring designs.”
—Sylvie Levine, whose Sylvie Collection bridal jewelry brand celebrated “a decade of diamonds” at LUXURY

“I wouldn’t mix rose gold and yellow gold on a watch, but some people would—and those people should have that choice.”
—Timothy Caruana, founder of Christian Paul, a new Australian fashion watch label that promoted its breakaway concept of watches with customizable dials, straps, and buckles, which allow for up to 500 variations

A timepiece by Christian Paul

“Diamond is God for us.”
—Shreyans Dholakia, owner/director of Shree Ramkrishna Exports (SRK), which staged a high-profile panel discussion at JCK, touting its new brand identity

“It is cheaper and just as effective to advertise on mobile devices as it is on desktop.”
—Jamie Blomquist, a member of Google’s marketing solutions team during a mobile marketing seminar at the Smart Age Solutions booth at JCK

“We’re looking for people to be informed about the machines and get the machines that are right for their businesses.”
—Jodine Perrin, director of education and training at ‎the International Institute of Diamond Grading & Research at The De Beers Group of Companies (IIDGR), regarding a new $1,000, one-day, lab-based synthetic diamond detection course the institute is launching

“If I had a child come into the business, I’d recommend they have a digital-first strategy. The second thing would be a gemological background.”
—Michael Pollack, owner of Denver’s Hyde Park Jewelers, during a panel discussion at the show’s opening press conference

“The dream is here. To be able to have a diamond made in the U.S. under our own steam, which could represent the rebirth of the jewelry sector.”
—Larry Bock, sales director of Hoover & Strong, which has partnered with MBM Diamonds to promote and distribute Harmony Made By Man, a line of lab-grown diamonds that was shown at the Four Seasons during JCK

“Love Monster is a beautiful conceptual experience abut connecting with today’s modern couple that happens to have lab-grown diamonds.”
—Amish Shah, president of ALTR Created Diamonds, which debuted its Love Monster brand at the show

JCK Magazine Editor