Publisher’s Letter, February 2016: A Weekend to Remember



Unbelievable that as I write this, we’re officially in the second half of the second decade of the 21st century. Wow. It’s going to be an amazing, exciting year, from the presidential election on down. Fasten your seat belts, everyone!

The year kicked off in high style around this year’s 24 Karat Club of the City of New York annual banquet—or “24 Karat weekend,” as most people refer to it. My weekend was made extra special by my participation in the meetings of two boards I’ve been asked to join, the Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC) and the Jewelers’ Security Alliance (JSA).

First, the parties: Friday night featured Jewelers of America’s annual Gem Awards, considered to be the Academy Awards of the fine jewelry industry. It’s always a glamorous evening, and it’s the night when the trade and consumer sides of our business mingle. (Congratulations to director of public relations and special events Amanda Gizzi on a spectacular event.)

The huge highlight of the night was JCK news director Rob Bates winning the Gem Award for Media Excellence! Rob had serious competition from Marie Claire market and accessories director Kyle Anderson and freelance journalist (for publications including The New York Times and its T Magazine) Rachel Garrahan. The winners of Gem Awards are kept secret until the envelope is opened, so you can imagine the roar of cheers from the JCK table when Rob won.

Rob truly represents the serious substance that is the foundation on which JCK is built. All of our work to keep our magazine and website cutting-edge and best-in-class is predicated upon the respect for our editorial product, and Rob works every day to earn that. Congratulations, Rob.

Saturday night was the 24 Karat banquet, highlighted by this year’s performer, Aretha Franklin. That evening, with more than 1,000 attendees in the glimmering Waldorf Astoria ballroom, truly captures the magic and shine of our industry. And the warm and friendly schmoozing (from about 5:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m.!) illustrates what a tight community of friends we work in. Congratulations to 24 Karat Club president Myriam Gumuchian for an amazing night. 

As I mentioned, it was truly my honor to be asked to join both the JVC and JSA boards this year. I sit in an intriguing place in this industry: as a “magazine/website guy,” I neither manufacture nor sell jewelry. And yet, I’ve always been made to feel a part of this industry. Being asked to join these boards went a long way toward cementing that feeling. Again, I am honored, and I’m hopeful my presence will assist with the marketing, communications, and membership efforts of both organizations.

Next, up: VicenzaOro. It’s always a blast to run into American retailers in the halls of the show and to see our many friends from Europe, the Middle East, India, and Asia. Until we meet again…ciao!

Top: At the Gem Awards with ABN AMRO’s Eric Jens (l.) and emcee Norman Miller of Elite Traveler

Smelzer photograph by Michael Falco