The annual show brings together jewelers and retailers from the U.S., the Caribbean, and Central and South America
Quiet, concentrated, and effective seemed to be the verdict of the 2016 JIS show in Miami, which ran Oct. 14–Oct. 17 at the Miami Beach Convention Center.
This year’s show featured new pavilions, a redesigned show floor, and new digital enhancements, including an app available in English, Spanish, and Portuguese, and customized exhibitor recommendations.
Jewelers were happy with the show’s organization and amenities and expected that business would match numbers from last year’s show. Exhibitors who have been coming to the show for years noted that traffic seemed down but were resigned that it was the nature of the business—and the economy. Many jewelers, however, especially those new to the show, were happy with turnout.
Daniel Bartels, the U.S. representative for German brand Thortiuda, was enjoying his first JIS show and the opportunity to connect with jewelers from the Caribbean and the Southern states.
“We are established in the European market, but the U.S. is new to us,” he said. “This industry is so small, it’s really good to be at a show like this—you can come here and connect and talk and say hi.”
Masi Gioielli, an Italian jewelry design and manufacturing company, was visiting JIS for the first time as part of the show’s first-ever Italian Pavilion, presented by the Italian Government Trade Promotion Agency.
“We’re very happy to be here and thankful for the Italian commission for having us,” said owner Andrea Masi. “We are meeting customers from the Caribbean, from Central and South America, and, of course, from the U.S.. The most important thing for us is that people have the chance to see our merchandise.”
Betty Carré, of the eponymous fashion jewelry brand, has been coming to the show for 10 years, and she said that her traffic was noticeably down. She pointed to a stack of buckets she had brought, hopefully, then laughed. “This isn’t a bucket year,” she says.
“One of my retailers was just here, and we were reminiscing,” she says. “He was saying, ‘I remember when people were lined up to see you! And now here we are, talking—you’re not selling, and I’m not buying, because no one is coming into my store.’ ”
She said it with a shrug, an acceptance of the cyclical nature of the economy, and the hope that next year would be better.
Sandro Moreno, cofounder of the Istanbul-based Tina Jewellery, said that the Miami show was a perfect venue for their brand, which creates luxury, one-of-a-kind pieces from unique and rare stones that his wife, Esra Moreno, a gemologist, and mother-in-law, Tina Christa Sezer, the designer, have been sourcing for years. “We are looking to connect with the right retailers for us, just a few,” he says. “This show is smaller, concentrated, more intense. There is the chance to really connect with customers.”
On Sunday, JIS honored some of those customers during the second-annual JIS Retailer of the Year Award ceremony, which recognized three retailers beloved by the JIS community. The Florida Keys’ Blue Marlin Jewelry and St. Thomas’s Imperial Jewelers were the two runners-up in this year’s ceremony, while the winner of the exhibitor-and-retailer-chosen award was Ballerina Jewelers, the renowned retailer with five locations in St. Maarten and St. Thomas.
In 2017, the show moves to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for two shows—January 2017 and April 2017—while the Miami Beach Convention Center undergoes construction.
From left: The owners of Blue Marlin Jewelry, Ballerina Jewelers, and Imperial Jewelers, with JIS industry vice president Jordan Tuchband
Top right: The Plumb Club Pavilion
(Photos courtesy of JIS)