JCK’s 150th: GIA’s Kathryn Kimmel on JCK’s Place in the Industry and Her Life

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 Kathryn Kimmel, GIA’s senior vice president and chief marketing officer, on what JCK has meant to her over the years.

JCK: How long have you been in the jewelry industry, and how has it changed since you joined?

Kathryn Kimmel: My career in this industry began over half a century ago in the back room of my parent’s jewelry store. I remember each month we would wait for the JCK magazine—at that time it was called Jewelers’ Circular Keystone, because it was the one source of up-to-date and reliable information.

When a new issue would arrive, we would pass it around, eagerly flipping through each page. Every JCK copy that we received was archived—my parents would even rip out certain articles and file them for future reference. Years later, when I cleaned out my parents’ files, there were all kinds of articles from JCK that had been saved from over the years.

What has JCK magazine meant to you?

JCK has always been more than a magazine, and that is due to the incredible editors, publishers, writers, and sales representatives who are consistently involved, committed, and support the industry.

I’ve experienced their involvement firsthand throughout the years, from my parent’s jewelry store to Nova Stylings to GIA. It’s those experiences that make JCK feel like part of the “family.” An example of this, and one of my fondest memories, was in 1990 when I was trying to launch GIA’s Jewelry Career Fair. JCK was one of the first to support the event and that was thanks to Charlie Bond, the previous publisher, who believed in GIA’s Jewelry Career Fair and saw the need to bring talent into the jewelry industry.

What was your first impression of JCK magazine, and how has it changed over the years?

JCK is the industry bible and has been for a century and a half. Today it’s a reliable source for breaking news, alerts, and trends. Everyone in the industry looks at it daily—and the nice part is, we no longer have to wait 30 days to get our news. The one thing that has not changed is that the magazine has always been beautifully presented and methodical.

Bravo and congratulations to JCK for staying true to your mission since 1869 of being the industry authority in the delivery of essential news and information. Well done!

On a side note—when I received this inquiry, it got me thinking about the earlier issues. After doing some investigating, I was amazed to discover that the first hard copy in GIA’s library is from Feb. 4, 1920 [see a picture of that issue, below].

The issue is massive, about 438 pages, but all of the content is relevant and is a time capsule for that era. These earlier issues are a great source for students, jewelry historians, sellers, and collectors of estate jewelry. JCK’s earlier issues are referenced in our course development and even our students utilize the content. This exemplifies how, from the early ’20s to today, JCK has been a source for all gem and jewelry information.

Jewelers Circular issue
Jewelers’ Circular issue from Feb. 4, 1920—the earliest hard copy of the magazine in GIA’s library!

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

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


Follow JCK on Instagram: @jckmagazine