Industry / Shows

Upbeat Mood Prevails At 2022 JCK Las Vegas


The news may be stirring fear about the economy, but that didn’t seem to affect most of the attendees at JCK Las Vegas, almost all of whom said that their business had held up this year—a trend they expected to continue.

To many retailers and exhibitors JCK ­talked to, the packed aisles and upbeat mood at this year’s show stirred memories of the “good old days.” And while a few said ­business has slowed somewhat, just about everyone predicted the jewelry industry’s current hot streak—spurred by the ­pandemic—hadn’t run out of steam just yet.

“We are a resilient industry,” said Jeff Corey, the former owner, and now vice ­president of marketing, of Day’s Jewelers, based in Waterville, Maine. “Everyone is excited and happy to be back here in Vegas.”

Corey said that, despite people beginning to travel again, so far business has been “excellent.”

“Last year was hard to beat, but we are beating last year,” he said. “Not by a lot, but we’re beating it.

Woman trying on rings at 2022 JCK show
Photograph by Camilla Sjodin

“Through COVID,” he added, “people couldn’t spend money on travel, on sports events, so they bought jewelry. And once you buy jewelry, and you give it to a person you love, you get the jewelry experience. You think, this is really cool. I think our industry is going to continue to be strong.”

He said he’s interested in seeing new technology and learning about things like the metaverse.

“I’m nearly 70 years old,” he said, “and I’m trying to wrap my head around that.”

Ronda Daily, president and CEO of Bremer Jewelry in Peoria, Ill., said that “business has been great. We’ve enjoyed what other jewelers have enjoyed over the last two years. We’re looking forward to a great holiday season.”

Like so many other jewelers, she came to the show to check out what’s new. “We’re in the Midwest, so we can’t get too crazy,” she said, “but we want to keep up with trends.”

Niveet Nagpal, president of longtime Luxury exhibitor Omi Privé, said that he’s ahead of last year, and he expects it to be a record year.

He’s dealt with supply chain and labor issues. “But I feel with inflation, people think that it’s good to invest in rare valuable pieces,” he said. “People want tangible assets, they want something they can wear and enjoy. We have retailers actually buying those pieces for stock. Usually it’s for memo.”

Man looking at pearls at 2022 JCK show
Photograph by Camilla Sjodin

Cristen Owen, director of marketing for Bernie Robbins Jewelers, based in Somers Point, N.J., said she’s looking for “unique pieces” for a summer collection full of trending jewelry. Among the things she’s looking for: precious stones, including rubies, emeralds, and sapphires.

She expects a good year and a good holiday, but doesn’t believe it will come without ­working for it, adding that her company will keep up its marketing and is refreshing its website. E-commerce has become a crucial part of her business, she said.

Alexis Padis, president of the San Francisco–based Padis Jewelry, feels “tempered optimism” about business, despite some concerns about inflation and the sanctions on Russian diamonds, following its invasion of Ukraine.

“We’re concerned about keeping Russian goods out of the supply chain,” she said.

Craig Underwood, president of Underwoods Fine Jewelers in Fayetteville, Ark., expects a good year and holiday, and said most of his fellow jewelers do as well.

“There’s a lot of good energy at the show,” he said. “Everyone is upbeat.”

Still, he admitted that “a little caution is good. Business isn’t going to be great forever.”

Top: 18k rose gold and diamond rings with ruby, sapphire, and emerald, $5,000–$6,500; Jye’s

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By: Rob Bates

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