The Jewelry District, Episode 1

In This Episode

The March installment of “The Jewelry District” kicks off with JCK senior editor Emili Vesilind discussing major jewelry moments at the Oscars and trends on the fashion week runways. News director Rob Bates covers the recent financial and legal troubles of retailer Samuels Jewelers.

You’ll also hear a Weird Story of the Week about a dental assistant–turned–jewel thief! Rob interviews diamond analyst Ben Janowski, who shares an industry insider’s perspective on mined and lab-created diamonds.

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Show Notes

1:10 Emili Vesilind discusses big jewelry moments at the Oscars with Rob Bates.
11:05 Emili rounds up the trends she observed during fashion week.
17:35 Rob covers the latest news on Samuels Jewelers.
22:55 Rob tells the “Weird Jewelry Story of the Week.”
25:45 Rob interviews Ben Janowski, diamond analyst and president of Janos Consultants, about new trends in diamonds and jewelry.

Episode Credits

Host: Rob Bates
JCK staff: Emili Vesilind
Guest: Ben Janowski, president, Janos Consultants
Engineer and editor: Levi Sharpe
Producer: Natalie Chomet
Plugs:, @jckmagazine,

Show Recap

Oscar-Winning Jewelry Moments
Emili Vesilind reacts to the big jewelry moments at the Oscars—the Super Bowl for fine jewelry brands. This year, she was dazzled by Lady Gaga wearing the historic Tiffany Diamond, which has not been worn since Audrey Hepburn sported it at a Breakfast at Tiffany’s publicity event in 1961.

Emili rounds up the JCK editorial team’s Oscar jewelry favorites including Julia Roberts in Cindy Chao, Charlize Theron in Bulgari, and Spike Lee sporting the Love/Hate knuckle rings from his 1989 film Do the Right Thing.

Trendspotting at Fashion Week
Emili has seen some key trends emerge in 2019 that carried through to fashion week. These include big chains from Oscar de la Renta, IDM, and Tom Ford, who created dresses that featured curb chain elements. Large hoop earrings were another recurring theme—some traditional and others not so much. Rob asks Emili how Oscar and fashion week looks influence each other and inform jewelry retailer trends. Which trends will fizzle and which will soar?

Reports of Samuels Jewelers and Bank Fraud
Listen to Rob’s coverage of the latest report on Samuels Jewelers. Rob recounts the saga of the 112-store retail chain, which filed for bankruptcy last year and announced the closing of all its stores just six months after its parent company Gitanjali Gems was charged with bank fraud.

Weird Story of the Week
Rob tells the strange and unsettling story of a dental hygienist who may have relieved several patients of their jewelry while they were under sedation. The local police chief asserts that, “Although she was using laughing gas, this is no laughing matter.”

Interview With Diamond Analyst Ben Janowski
Rob gets Ben’s insights into lab-grown diamonds. Ben realized early on that man-made diamonds would be the next big thing. Ben shares his thoughts on the history of lab-growns and where they are going. He talks about what the marketing gets wrong and what it gets right in both the lab-created and mined diamond markets.

Also check out our pilot episode, which features an interview with diamond analyst Paul Zimnisky. It can be heard here.

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