The Best of Las Vegas 2013: Part 2

I couldn’t squeeze my review of Las Vegas market week into last week’s post, so here’s Part 2.

I wasn’t the only one enamored of Dutch designer Bibi van der Velden’s charming Siberian mammoth ivory jewels, like this good-looking gator cuff. I’m told Bergdorf Goodman’s buyers made a beeline for her booth in the Design Center, as did the JCK TV film crew. The JCK Rising Star is clearly one to watch—check out her Kryptonite collection of jagged crystal-like forms fashioned from silver set with brown diamonds for an inventive take on tiaras!

 

The Design Center at JCK was home to an artist whose work took my breath away: Anthony “Tony” Lent. A former chair of the jewelry department at FIT, Lent is now making and selling his own jewelry collection with the help of his sons Max and David, who split their duties between New York City and Lent’s workshop in Philadelphia. His pieces have a Victorian vibe—this brooch was drawn from a Victorian-era photo of faces with long hair—but Lent says his biggest inspiration is Hieronymus Bosch, the 15th century Dutch painter, whose scenes—“some hellish, some dreamlike”—are reinterpreted in jewels that are nothing if not conversation-starters. A Tahitian pearl, 18k gold, and diamond earring, for example, features a disembodied pair of legs running beneath it.

 

In last year’s “Best in Show” issue, we crowned Romanoff International Supply Corp.’s MLAB machine the best product in the Equipment, Technology and Supplies pavilion. The newfangled laser machine “grows” jewelry by melting a plate of gold powder according to instructions imported in a CAD file. I was fascinated by last year’s demonstration and thrilled to come back this year to see a selection of jewelry created by this cutting-edge method, known as additive manufacturing. Brian Romanoff offered to let me borrow a pendant to wear around the show. If only this photo did justice to its cool three-dimensionality! The caged structure would be virtually impossible to simulate using traditional casting methods—one reason why I’m convinced 3-D technology represents the future of the jewelry industry.

 

We’re constantly told that jewelry is art, but few jewelers make that connection obvious in their visual merchandising. The good folks at Stuller showed us how it’s done at their booth in the Plumb Club, where the jewelry displays included artistic sketches of the collections perched on easels. I dig the simplicity of this approach and would love to see more merchants adopt it.

 

The Maroon 5 performance at JCK Rocks the Beach was a had-to-be-there moment. I know that plenty of people tried to be there, but were turned away because the venue had reached its capacity, and I’m bummed for them—they missed a great show. Truth be told, however, it’s not the music that I’ll remember. The thing that stands out in my memory of the night is the unbridled enthusiasm on the faces of people in the audience, many of them longstanding friends and colleagues celebrating the conclusion of what most people are saying was a fantastic JCK Las Vegas show. There’s nothing like watching people have a good time together—like in this shot of my friends at the Rapaport Group, Mordy (far left) and Alissa (far right)—to put you in a great mood!

 

Finally, while I don’t have a photo of the “Retail Roundup” discussion I led as part of JCK’s seminar program, I’d like to give a big shout-out to panelists Sean Moore of Borsheims Fine Jewelry & Gifts, Jennifer Gandia of Greenwich Jewelers, and Veronica Mazzarese of Mazzarese Jewelry for their time and insights. They were candid and thoughtful, and I was honored to spend an hour discussing the state of the jewelry trade with them.

Be sure to check out our July-August issue for a full rundown of everything the JCK editorial staff deemed “best in show” in Las Vegas.