Friday 5: What I’m Looking Forward to at JCK Las Vegas

Two weeks from today, the Mandalay Bay resort in Las Vegas will welcome thousands of the jewelry industry’s finest—both exhibitors and retailers—who will parade through its massive convention center–style floors in search of what’s next. Exhibitors will be on the lookout for connections, both in old friends and partners and new business, while retailers will be on the hunt for the must-have items to stock in their showcases. I will be doing a bit of both: hunting for new product to delightfully covet, er, report to you, and seeking new friendly faces to connect with. Just thinking about what’s in store for me makes me want to wish away this next week so we can finally be in Las Vegas. There’s a lot to look forward to, but here are the top 5 things on my mind.

1. The Hunt

Ah, the thrill of the hunt. When it comes to jewelry, that is. I’ve been working on a show preview bursting with product (coming soon!), and as I’ve started putting it together, I can count about 100 pieces that I can’t wait to see, hold, wear, and fall in love with in person. All the while, I’ll be constructing a very lengthy wish list of jewels I’ll be eager to share with readers, both those who did come to the show, and those attending from home. It might sound weird, but one of my favorite parts of the day is heading back to my hotel room to write, summing up all of the treasures that I found on the show floor that day. Picking out similar trends is another bonus. Who can call this work?

2. Getting Social

Okay, so I do spend a lot of time communicating with people on social media, but this time I mean actually meeting face to face (who does that?!). I treasure the solder-tight relationships I’ve formed over the past couple of years and am looking forward to meeting new and exciting people who work so hard every day to bring us such beautiful things. These jewelry designs that I rave about day in and day out speak volumes to the fact that these are people’s lives, their livelihoods, their passions. Listening to designers speak about their creations is a thrilling and memorable treat, and I get seven whole days of it.

3. LUXURY, Elite Enclave, Prestige Promenade, and Plumb Club

Have you ever felt the relief of soft, cushy carpet under your feet after spending the day waltzing around in less-than- comfortable shoes? I have, and that’s why I always make a point to drop in for a stroll through LUXURY, Elite Enclave, Prestige Promenade, and the Plumb Club in the latter part of my days on the show floor. The surroundings are fashioned in a way that oozes luxe; you know you’re in for something really special when you’re there. By May 30, when JCK Las Vegas officially opens, LUXURY and Elite Enclave will already have had exclusive showings for three days. And yet, I’ll continue to go back for more (they must get sick of seeing me in there at some point). Try strolling over to Prestige Promenade and the Plumb Club sections later in the day—even if you’ve already been there, go back—and you’re sure to be in for a treat.

4. The Rising Stars

I’m sure I’ve said this unapologetically hundreds of times: My absolute favorite area on the show floor is the Design Center. Those people I referred to above, the ones who pour themselves into their work? You’ll find many of them here. And in the entrance of the Design Center is the row of Rising Stars; JCK’s selection of up-and-coming designers that are bound to knock your socks off. Past favorites include Erik Stewart, Bibi van der Velden, Nada G, and Walt Adler, all of whose work has continued to impress and amaze. You can meet the 2014 Rising Stars on paper here, but whatever you do, don’t pass up the chance to meet them in person.

5. JCK Rocks the Beach

Held on Mandalay Bay Beach, this event is the culmination of an entire hard-earned week that really lets its attendees cut loose. I love seeing everyone come together in celebration of another year gone by, the perfect ending to an already-exciting show. Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20 is set to give us a great show this year, and he’s got some big shoes to fill. Who could forget Maroon 5 last year? I swear it felt like the Beatles had landed. In any case, I so look forward to this night—to the concert, the people, the atmosphere, everything that makes this event so memorable and unique.

All right one more thing, a bonus, of what I’m looking forward to. It involves Instagram! I spend so much of my off time filling my Instagram account with images of food (I suppose I can’t complain too much, can I?) that I look forward to this time of year when fine sparkling jewelry and exciting creations seem to go on for days (and they do). I can’t wait for a renewed stock of fantastically filtered (and some of the #nofilter variety) jewelry pictures. I also can’t wait to see what treasures you uncover. See you on the show floor!

For more of the latest trends and products in the industry, check out JCK Marketplace, follow me on Twitter or Pinterest, or subscribe to my blog, On Your Market.

For more from JCK Las Vegas 2014: