2004 JA Summer Show draws 13,000

Business at the 2004 Jewelers of America Summer Show (July 25-28) was generally satisfactory, though not outstanding, said many of its exhibitors who noted that traffic seemed slower this year.

Still, the JA Show, a longtime mid-summer U.S. jewelry trade tradition, offered visitors a full menu: business opportunities, networking events, educational seminars, honored industry leaders, and celebrities. “JA New York strives to create the best show possible for exhibitors and attendees,” said show director Drew Lawsky.

About 13,000 attendees—virtually equal to 2003’s turnout—viewed products and designs by some 1,750 companies (a few dozen less than last year) from around the world. Most attendees were from the Northeast, with the rest coming from others parts of the U.S. and even as far away as Latin America.

Sections and pavilions. To help attendees focus time and energy on the trends and products most relevant to their customers, JA New York fine-tuned the Collection Floor into special sections. These included American Time Watch & Clock, Antique & Estate Jewelry, The Collection Showcase, Concours d’Elegance (managed by the American Watch Guild), Diamond Way, Gift Gallery, Inner Circle, the International Jewelry Design Guild (IJDG) “Design Collections 2004,” International Pavilions, New Designer Gallery, New Product Gallery, Place Vendôme, and the Platinum Pavilion.

One of the most actively visited segments of the show was the Concours d’Elegance, featuring both established watch brands and a number of newcomers to the U.S. market. AWG announced a two-year project to raise $1 million for cancer research. Also on hand at the Concours was celebrated actor and watch collector Eli Wallach and renowned U.S. mountain climber John Rost, fresh from Mt. Everest in a climb to the summit co-sponsored by Chase-Durer watches.

Education and networking. The show’s three-day Jewelers of America educational program ranged from a seminar on how to sell to Generation X consumers to a session on increasing profits through proper jewelry repair take-in procedures. Show officials said every seminar had an impressive turnout and delivered valuable information. Joyce Jonas’ Antique & Estate Jewelry Seminars also were a hit.

The show’s JA New York Red Carpet Jewelry Tour gave exhibitors the opportunity to show off pieces adorning celebrities at prestigious award shows, movie premieres, and other red carpet events. Tour attendees got closer looks at the jewelry worn by Britney Spears, The Bachelorette’s Trista Sutter, The OC’s Mischa Barton, and others. Exhibitors included Basch & Co., Beaudry, Bielka Inc., Daniel K, HRD Belgium, Invicta Watch Co., Jennifer Kellogg, Jewelry World.com, Kwiat, Laura Gibson Designs, Mouawad, Penny Preville/JPPS INC., Prompt Gem Importers Inc., Somos Creations Ltd., Tacori by B&T Jewelers, Whitney Boin Studio, and Yossi Harari.

Nightlife and awards. On July 24, the New York State Jewelers Association hosted an awards dinner, and the day after, the Women’s Jewelry Association hosted a dinner and silent auction. JA New York and National Jeweler co-hosted the Copacabana Dance Party at New York’s Copacabana club on July 26.

On Tuesday, July 27, the American Gem Society hosted its 5th annual Circle of Distinction Dinner, honoring those who have made significant contributions to the jewelry industry. Honorees included George Holmes, JCK’s well-known, longtime former editor-in-chief; Matthew Runci, president and CEO of Jewelers of America; and Mark and Candy Udell, chief exeutive officer and president of London Jewelers, respectively.

Several consumer and trade journalists were presented with Richard T. Liddicoat journalism awards. In the trade media, John L. Emmett, Kenneth Scarratt, Shane F. McClure, Thomas Moses, Troy R. Douthit, Richard Hughes, Steven Novak, James Shigley, Wuyi Wang, Owen Bordelon, and Robert E. Kane won for their Gems & Gemology article, “Beryllium Diffusion of Ruby and Sapphire.” Honorable mention went to Rob Bates of JCK magazine for “Cut From the Same Cloth” and to Victoria Gomelsky of National Jeweler for “Trade Worries Over Mounting Skepticism Among Consumers.”

JA New York also recognized four designers. The 2004 “Mort Abelson New Designer of the Year” Award was presented to Stuart Cathey, and the annual Golden Apple Awards went to three exhibitors who implemented distinctive marketing programs. The award for Innovation was given to JudeFrances Jewelry for a clever direct-mail campaign, and an exceptional public relations campaign by Daniel K won a Golden Apple for Sparkle. The award for Fusion went to Jewelbutton-êjoque for its successful coordination of promotional and direct mailing efforts, innovative advertising, and unique, eye-catching displays.