JCK’s 150th: Jewelry Designer Erica Courtney on the Trend Trajectory of Colored Gemstones

JCK magazine is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year! To commemorate that milestone, we’re talking to 150 veteran jewelry professionals in 2019 for a feature series meant to distill the voices of some of the industry’s most enduring and successful professionals.

We can’t print every interview in its entirety in the magazine—so we’ve been posting full interviews here on JCKonline.com every Thursday.

This week we hear from Los Angeles–based jewelry designer Erica Courtney, whose colorful and decadent designs helped kick-start the global craze for colored gemstones in the 1990s and early 2000s.

JCK: How long have you been in the jewelry industry?

Erica Courtney: I have been in the industry for over 30 years. Since the early 1980s!

In what major ways has the industry changed since you’ve been in it? 

When I first started, jewelry was much more cookie-cutter: There were only diamonds, emeralds, rubies, and sapphires (the “big four”) set in jewelry. If any other colored gemstones were used at the time, they were noncollectible and inexpensive. These days, there is an allure to color; the more special the color is, the quicker it sells.

My clients come to me for something different. They want a conversation piece—something that no one else can get.

What’s your experience with JCK magazine—or a good memory of JCK? 

I love the profiles written in JCK. They are so in-depth and professional, which helps JCK’s audience really get to know the designers being profiled.

You’re a longtime JCK Las Vegas exhibitor—what do you like most about the show?

I love exhibiting with JCK because I feel that’s where the buyers are, and the buyers there are serious. Also, as big as the JCK Las Vegas show is, it somehow feels like a smaller, more intimate event, because the show organizers really take care of their buyers and exhibitors.

Top: Erica Courtney (photo courtesy of Erica Courtney)

Catch up on all of JCK’s 150th interviews:

Robert Weldon, director of GIA’s Richard T. Liddicoat Gemological Library and Information Center
Stuart Robertson, vice president of Gemworld
Bill Furman, longtime JCK magazine ad sales manager
Kathryn Kimmel, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of GIA
Katie Kinsella Murphy, owner of Kinney + Kinsella
Frank Dallahan, publisher, The Retailer Jeweler
Jen Cullen Williams, managing director of Luxury Brand Group
Sally Morrison, chief marketing officer of Lightbox
Susan M. Jacques, president and CEO of GIA
Marie Helene Morrow, president of Reinhold Jewelers
Jenny Luker, U.S. president of Platinum Guild International
Beth Gerstein, co-CEO of Brilliant Earth
Russell Shor, GIA senior industry analyst
Walter McTeigue, cofounder of McTeigue & McClelland
Caryl Capeci, president of Hearts On Fire
Eddie LeVian, CEO of Le Vian
Peggy Jo Donahue, freelance writer and former JCK editor-in-chief
Rebecca Moskal, jewelry marketing veteran

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