Hot Topics & Top Themes at JCK Las Vegas 2017

JCK Las Vegas is more than a place to buy and sell. It’s a time when the trade from all over the world gathers and takes stock of where it’s been, and where it’s going. At seminars this year, attendees and panelists batted ideas back and forth and ­debated hot topics. Among the top themes:

Lab-Grown Diamonds

With more than 30 companies this year carrying man-made diamonds—and the show considering a lab-grown pavilion next year—it’s not surprising that this topic dominated trade chatter.

“A lot of retailers who previously would never have carried lab-grown diamonds are now saying, ‘I’m going to go where my customer leads me,’ ” said Edahn Golan, an analyst for NPD Group, at a seminar on Saturday. “It’s a trend that’s here to stay.”

Meanwhile, retailers including Susan Eisen, owner of Susan Eisen Fine Jewelry in El Paso, Texas, worried about having to detect lab-grown diamonds.

“I want to buy from the public ­without worry,” she said. “I do a lot of appraisals, and if I get something off the internet, I want to be able to tell them for sure what they have.”

She was looking for a good detector at the show—ideally, one that was “small, accurate, and inexpensive.”

A well-stocked case of diamond jewelry


At a Sunday breakfast, Forevermark said it was ­introducing a new product concept that “celebrates a woman for her inner character and qualities,” meant in part to capitalize on the growing self-purchase market. (So far the brand has announced only the concept, not the specific product, for competitive reasons, it says.)

Forevermark CEO Stephen Lussier said the company’s research found that self-purchase now represents 31 percent of the women’s diamond jewelry market—up from 24 percent a few years ago. “If you went back 20 years ago it would be less than 10 percent,” he added.

TrueFacet’s Tirath Kamdar and Union & Fifth’s Christena Reinhard at a JCK Talks panel

Social Media Marketing

Facebook is the most efficient form of paid search, said Tirath Kamdar, TrueFacet CEO, on a Sunday Retailer Roundtable panel.

Fellow panelist Christena Reinhard, founder of nonprofit designer clothing e-tailer Union & Fifth, urged attendees to “hire an intern” to handle social media, and hire qualified experts to handle digital strategy.

“Just like I don’t know how to cut diamonds, I’m going to get the right people to run my digital,” she said.

“A lot of baby boomers are scared of social media,” added American Express vice president, brand partnerships and experience Amy Marino, who heads Small Business Saturday, at a press conference. “But testing in social media is very low-risk.”