The Jewelry District, Episode 96: Tiffany’s New Flagship, AGS Conclave and A.I., JCK Las Vegas Preview


JCK editor-in-chief Victoria Gomelsky and news director Rob Bates recap highlights from Tiffany & Co.’s star-studded party to mark the reopening of the Fifth Avenue flagship store, where a once homey vibe has been replaced by a sleek temple to luxury. Rob shares an update from AGS Conclave along with insights about the trending topic of ChatGPT and its potential for the industry. Finally, the two compare notes on which events they’re most excited to check out at JCK Las Vegas.

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Sponsored by De Beers: institute.debeers.com

Show Notes

01:45 Tiffany’s Night to Remember
12:53 Smart Ways to Harness AI
21:3: All Eyes on JCK Las Vegas

Episode Credits
Hosts: Rob Bates and Victoria Gomelsky
Producer and engineer: Natalie Chomet
Plugs: @jckmagazine; institute.debeers.com

Show Recap

A night to remember marks the dawn of a new era for Tiffany & Co.
The April 27 fete for Tiffany & Co.’s reopened New York City flagship was even flashier and splashier than expected, Victoria reports. Close to 1,200 guests attended, and tourists thronged Fifth Avenue to catch a glimpse of A-listers like Blake Lively, Zoë Kravitz, and Mark Wahlberg on the red carpet.

After more than three years in the works, the spectacular new flagship looks nothing like the Tiffany’s store of old, Victoria says. The Landmark, as Tiffany now calls its store, is filled with light wood, glass, digital screens, artwork, a dramatic curvilinear staircase, and, of course, beautiful jewelry. Victoria’s first stop was the seventh floor, which houses gemstone masterpieces like Bird on a Rock brooches and the Patek Philippe salon. Nearly as awe-inspiring as the gems was the sheer amount of wealth of the guests in attendance, she says.

The Fifth Avenue icon was long venerated as a democratic slice of Americana, Rob notes—a place where anyone could feel at home admiring the pieces on display. He wonders if the Landmark will be as welcoming. That depends on what kind of person you are, Victoria surmises. Sleek and grand, this indisputable temple to luxury may well intimidate certain shoppers. Then again, it’s bound to be a tourist attraction—and there are affordable items to be had, she notes. (The entry price for a silver Return to Tiffany bracelet is $250.) For those confident or curious enough to be undaunted by the glamour, Victoria says it’s well worth going up to the seventh floor to admire the art, the homages to Tiffany windows, and the digital Audrey Experience—with a replica of Audrey Hepburn’s black Givenchy dress from Breakfast at Tiffany’s and original notes from the Truman Capote novella that inspired the film.

Want more detail? Read Victoria’s report on the party.

AI update: smart ways to harness artificial intelligence
Next, Rob shares highlights from the recent American Gem Society Conclave, where he found himself socializing without fear of COVID for the first time in several years.

Despite warning signs like inflation and bank failures—and waning from the boom of 2020 and 2021—jewelry businesses are holding up well based on the buzz at Conclave, Rob says. Traceability and lab-grown diamonds were much discussed, but the session that piqued his interest most was on ChatGPT. He found a story told by business consultant Ford Saeks particularly compelling because it demonstrated AI’s potential value as a customer service tool. When Saeks asked ChatGPT to craft an email to a disgruntled customer, the recipient was delighted by what seemed like a personalized note. “This is why I like working with you,” the customer responded. “It was ironic,” Rob observes, that what seemed like such a human touch was crafted by a machine.

Rob’s takeaway based on the session and his own experimentation with ChatGPT? “It’s a powerful tool, but to really master it, you have to understand the prompts, capabilities, and limitations,” he cautions. “As far as factual accuracy, it’s wrong more often than right.”

Rob and Victoria debate what artificial intelligence means for the future of their work and journalism in general. While it may usurp basic writing tasks, Victoria considers the threat minimal, because AI can’t replicate reporters. “ChatGPT isn’t about to call up 10 different sources and distill their conversations into pearls of wisdom and weave that into a story,” she says.

On the other hand, the technology may have big-picture cultural implications most of us haven’t even considered yet. She cites New York Times columnist and podcaster Ezra Klein, who recently pointed out that since AI focuses on culling existing content and data, increasing reliance on it could lead us to rehash things we already know rather than search for new knowledge. “What does that do for us as a society?” Victoria asks.

All eyes on JCK Las Vegas
The conversation shifts to Las Vegas, as excitement builds for the Luxury by JCK show (May 31–June 1) and JCK Las Vegas (June 2–5). Rob wants to catch the educational sessions on ChatGPT, TikTok, sustainability, and how to do a social media audit. Victoria is eager to get the scoop on DEI (diversity, equity, inclusion), to attend Friday’s Women’s Jewelry Association breakfast on disability inclusion in the industry, and to hear about viral videos at the Innovation Hub’s new Social Stage. She also wants to listen to keynote speakers, including Olympic gold medal–winning gymnast Dominique Dawes and retail innovator Johnny Earle, aka Johnny Cupcakes.

Rob will moderate two Hot Topics panels: Friday’s Natural Diamond Updates (featuring speakers from the Natural Diamond Council, the Jewelers Vigilance Committee, and the De Beers Group) and Saturday’s Lab Grown Diamond Updates (with representatives from the International Grown Diamond Association and the International Gemological Institute and analyst Edahn Golan). Rather than pit the two camps (natural and lab-grown) against each other, “we decided to look at these two different segments as individual markets,” Rob explains.

Other not-to-miss events include Sunday’s Jewelers for Children gala, followed by the JCK Rocks concert, headlined by country singer-songwriter Andy Grammer.

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By: Kathy Passero

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