Great Estate: The Las Vegas Antique Jewelry & Watch Show Opens May 30

Vintage jewelry continues to be all the rage in celebrity and socialite spheres, boosting consumer interest in second-hand bling all around.

Looking to augment your store’s collection of pre-loved pieces? One of the world’s best trade events for period jewelry and timepieces, the Las Vegas Antique Jewelry & Watch Show, is poised to take over the ballroom at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas May 30—a day before the JCK Las Vegas show opens. The show, now in its 18th year, will run through June 2.

Antique watch from exhibitor Haig’s of Rochester

Nearly 400 exhibitors will set up booths this year—more than ever before, says Mary Bender, marketing director ?for the event’s parent company, U.S. Antique Shows. “We are really maxed out on space,” notes Bender, citing a 38 percent increase in show attendance between 2010 and 2011, right around the time celebrities starting showing up en masse in vintage Cartier, Harry Winston, and the like.

The show was originally conceptualized as an alternative to new jewelry and watch shows, which would often relegate vintage and estate dealers to shadowy corners. “It caters to this very niche group of [dealers] who weren’t having a whole lot of success at other shows,” says Bender. “But vintage jewelry and antique jewelry has made a pretty serious comeback, so the show is growing. There’s always been popularity there. We live in a mass-produced world, and people like something that’s [special] and different.”

David Webb rock crystal and diamond platinum ring from exhibitor TMW

Guests at the show this year can expect to find jewelry and watches dating back to the Georgian era and up to the 1980s, along with an expanded selection of loose vintage gemstones.

Also look for branded sample pieces that never made it to production, and “custom pieces that are truly one of a kind,” says Bender, who recalls one vendor recently selling a piece designed by Frank Sinatra for his wife.

Because every jewel is essentially a one-off, sales are made right off the showroom floor (there’s no ordering). Pricing runs the gamut—“from $100 for a hat pin, up to  $500,000” for branded diamond pieces from venerable houses such as Van Cleef & Arpels.

On Thursday morning, the show will host an invite-only breakfast forum, entitled “New Issues with Old European Cut Diamonds,” addressing the industry’s pricing discrepancies when it comes to old European-cut diamonds. The panel will include diamond cutters and dealers. To request an invitation, visit lasvegasantiquejewelryandwatchshow.com.

The Las Vegas Antique Jewelry & Watch Show is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

JCK Magazine Editor