The 2013 Highlight Reel

With only two days left in 2013, I can’t help but reflect on the past year. It was a good year, if not a great one: unpredictable, hectic, exhilarating, disappointing—and full of moments of transcendent happiness. Here’s a recap of my best experiences, in descending order.

5. Officiating at my friends’ same-sex wedding

In July, two dear friends of mine got hitched in a surprise picnic wedding in Santa Monica, Calif., and I had the honor of officiating the ceremony. Now that Utah has become the latest state to endorse same-sex unions, it’s clear that the tide is turning, and that marriage equality is rapidly coming to the forefront of American politics. I have no doubt that those in support of the issue are on the right side of history, and I am proud to be among them.

The breaking of the glass at my friends’ lovely picnic wedding

4. Cajun country with Stuller

Attending one of Stuller’s Bridge conferences had been on my to-do list for the better part of a year, and in September, I finally made it happen. The hospitality I was shown in Lafayette, La., was matched only by the insights I gleaned from the intense two-day workshops I attended at Stuller’s sprawling headquarters. If you have the opportunity to attend the event in 2014, don’t pass it up. You’ll come away smarter, savvier, and more energized about the jewelry business—and in awe of the unexpected serenity of Stuller’s swampy setting in the heart of Cajun country.

Who knew that swampland could be so beautiful? 

3. LINK Summit in Vienna

In April, I was asked to moderate a panel discussion at the LINK Jewelry Summit in Vienna, a first of its kind event sponsored by Swarovski. The crystal maker showed attendees a thing or two about how to organize a thoughtful, provocative, and engaging jewelry conference—I likened it to a mini-TED event. I haven’t heard anything about a second annual LINK event, but I know the industry is sorely in need of a big-picture event like this one. If Swarovski isn’t up for round two, I nominate JCK to step up!

Forgive the blurry pic, but that’s me and the International New York Times’ world-class fashion columnist Suzy Menkes at the LINK Summit in Vienna!

2. Kuwait with Octium

When I paid a visit to Kuwait last January, I wasn’t prepared to encounter a community of tastemakers with a sixth sense for style. But thanks to my generous hosts, Fahad Al Hajiri and Alanood Al Sabah, the inimitable couple behind the designer jewelry brand Octium, I was given a privileged glimpse into how the royal half lives. My God—what a fabulous life!

The Kuwaiti skyline

1. Shinola and me

If you’ve been a regular reader of this blog, you’ve probably heard the story of how Shinola, the hot new American-made watch brand from Detroit, came to name its ladies’ model The Gomelsky, after yours truly. It’s one of my better stories. I just hope it’s not all downhill from here!

The full-page New York Times ad that Shinola ran on the Sunday of NYC fashion week in September, promoting The Gomelsky

My favorite memories are one thing; Google Analytics are another: Here are the top five Off the Chain blog posts that resonated with JCK readers in 2013:

  1. The Jewelry Industry in 2020
  2. Products, Price Points, and Parties: Highlights From Baselworld 2013
  3. My 15 Minutes With Shinola
  4. The Best of Las Vegas 2013: Part 1
  5. My 5 Favorite Finds in Tucson