5 Things I’m Looking Forward To in Las Vegas

At the risk of dating myself, next week will mark my 13th time at JCK Las Vegas. (I attended my first JCK in 2000 and have only missed one show—the 2003 edition—in all the years since.) It goes without saying that my favorite part of the experience is reuniting with friends who live all over the world (though checking out the latest crop of watches and jewels is a close second). This year promises to be as unpredictable as ever. Here are five reasons why I’m excited for lucky 2013:

1. Ziplining on Fremont Street with 2(X)IST

Apparently, I’m going ziplining when I get to town. On Wednesday, May 29, 2(X)IST, the premium men’s underwear brand that recently unveiled a stylish men’s fashion watch called “The NYC,” is organizing a press ziplining excursion through a company called Flightlinez. The part that most excites me is that we’ll be zipping above Fremont Street, the heart of downtown Vegas, which is, by all accounts, in the midst of a renaissance. I rarely take the opportunity to leave the southern Strip when I’m in Vegas, so I’m looking forward to checking out old-school haunts like Oscar’s Steakhouse, where we’ll be drinking post-zipping. Join us!

2. JCK TV

If you’re staying at Mandalay Bay, THEhotel, the Four Seasons, Aria, the Luxor, or the MGM Grand, tune in to JCK TV to get the latest news and updates from the show floor. Publisher Mark Smelzer and I will be your hosts, and all of JCK’s senior editors—Rob Bates, Jennifer Heebner, and Emili Vesilind—will be featured correspondents. We’ll be talking about subjects that are top of mind for buyers—like the fluctuating price of gold and the newest product trends—but we’ll also be interviewing show-goers about their experience…maybe even you!

3. Debbie Yonick’s 50th birthday

It was 2001, and I had just taken over the gem editor position at National Jeweler—though I knew next to nothing about colored stones. My then-editor encouraged me to call Deb, the former gem editor at NJ, to pick her brain about dealers and people to see in Tucson at the gem shows—and one phone conversation was enough to know I’d dig this woman. And sure enough, I did. More than that, I quickly grew to love her. On June 1, it’s her big 5-0. I’m trying to forget what that implies about my age, so I’m focusing on what it implies about the jewelry business: It breeds some seriously long, seriously real, seriously serious friendships. Deb, I can’t wait to help you celebrate!

I snapped this pic of Debbie Yonick (right) with Michelle Orman, another good friend from the jewelry industry, in Tucson earlier this year.

4. Searching for the cover jewel for our July-August “Best in Show” issue

We’re doing something a little unusual for our July-August issue: Instead of shooting a model wearing trendy jewels for the cover, we’re looking for a standout piece of jewelry that earns our votes for “best in show.” If you have any suggestions, let me know! It has to be new, it has to be spectacular, and it has to be available to be photographed in New York City in the week or two after JCK ends. But otherwise, we’re wide open to suggestions.

5. Maroon 5 at JCK Rocks the Beach on Sunday, June 2 at Mandalay Bay

Within minutes of the news about Maroon 5’s performance at JCK Rocks the Beach going out, I received two emails—from Debbie (mentioned above) and my longtime friend Randi Molofsky—asking me if I could secure backstage passes. I couldn’t bring myself to tell them that I’m not that cool—and that I’ll be angling for prime beach viewing territory along with all the other groupies. But hey, beachside viewing is better than nothing. All JCK badge holders are welcome, but come early!

Maroon 5