150 Years, 150 Voices: Reflections on JCK, Part 1

JCK would be nowhere without the industry insiders who have helped the magazine along the way—either by making the news, reading it in our pages, or both. So we asked 150 of them to join the dialogue about how the jewelry business has changed over the decades and the role we have played in that evolution. Here are the first 25.

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le vian chocolate diamond pendant
Strawberry and Vanilla Gold pendant with 5.29 cts. t.w. Chocolate and Vanilla Diamonds and 4.14 cts. t.w. Forest Green Tsavorite, $18,698, levian.com

“For years, JCK had an amazing sales manager by the name of Bill Furman, who to many was an icon with his always smiling and energetic personality. We became friends and he would stop at our office on 46th Street to chat, and he always brought some artisanal chocolates as a gift. His passion and addiction to chocolate were infectious. Soon I was a chocoholic myself. One day we were lamenting what a terrible job the mine had done using the natural color diamonds from the Argyle mine in Australia. The fancy color browns were being called inferior stones, and the mine’s efforts to trademark and market champagne diamond lines had failed. Le Vian in 2000 launched its Chocolate Diamonds collections worldwide. Fifteen years later, 45 percent of Americans recognize the Chocolate Diamonds brand, but most—including Bill himself—didn’t know that Bill Furman’s love of artisanal chocolate was the inspiration.”
Eddie LeVian, CEO, Le Vian

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erica courtney“I’ve been in the business for 30 years! When I first started, jewelry was much more cookie-cutter: There were only diamonds, emeralds, rubies, and sapphires in jewelry. If any other colored gemstones were used, they were non-collectible and inexpensive. These days, there is an allure to color; the more special the color is, the quicker it sells.”
Erica Courtney, jewelry designer

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weinrichJCK magazine has continued to be a standout for news, deep knowledge of our industry, and articles on how to be a better retailer overall. The look and feel of the magazine continues to be best in class, and when you layer in the daily newsletter and our top-notch reporters, JCK really delivers on all cylinders.”
Yancy Weinrich, senior vice president, Reed Jewelry Group

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matt stuller“Wow! One hundred fifty years is such an accomplishment. Over the years, JCK magazine has established itself as a place where businesses can go to learn the latest information on all the happenings around our industry. It’s so important to have a reliable resource, someone you can count on to help grow your business and help you succeed.”
Matt Stuller, founder and CEO, Stuller

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oscar heyman hand gemstone spray brooch
Black Enamel Hand Gemstone Spray Brooch in 18k yellow gold with moonstone, ruby, emerald, sapphire, and diamonds, circa 1950s, Oscar Heyman

“In 1912, when Oscar Heyman & Brothers was founded, it was reported in JCK, because JCK was the bible of the industry. JCK was a part of the foundation of the American jewelry industry.”
Tom Heymanpartner, Oscar Heyman

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“My earliest memories of JCK come from my ­childhood. My father would bring home from work all of his ­industry reading to do in the ­evening. As a youngster, I recall ­browsing JCK; I would ­always check the pages he folded down the corners on to see what caught his eye. My son ­Andrew recently joined the business, and I’m confident he will also rely upon JCK as the ­industry bible.”
Hank Siegel, president, Hamilton Jewelers

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doug hucker“I can go over to my bookshelf and pull out copies of JCK from 20 and 30 years ago. I always hung on to the magazines and used the information in them over and over. JCK’s always been a publication I admire filled with people
I admire.”
Doug Hucker, CEO, American Gem Trade Association

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“Today, the industry seems to be increasingly surrendering its responsibility for product knowledge to third parties such as labs and nonindustry certification firms. But it also raises the question of what we are actually selling to consumers today—gems or paper?”
Stuart Robertson, vice president, Gemworld International

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rebecca moskal“Every time I see a client’s piece showcased in the pages of JCK magazine, it’s still as thrilling and rewarding today as it was the first time, years ago. In this era of pay-to-play media coverage, JCK bucks that trend. It gives exposure to young up-and-comers, tried-and-true veterans, and everyone in between.”
Rebecca Moskal, founder, Communiqué

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“Over time, we have seen the magazine grow. The articles have become more and more interesting, the quality of photography has drastically improved, and the outreach has expanded. We have been honored to be a part of it for many years.”
Tamara Rahaminov and Amir Goldfiner, cofounders, Rahaminov Diamonds

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tree of knowledge clock
Art Deco gem-set and mother-of-pearl Tree of Knowledge clock by Pierre Gravoin for Black, Starr & Frost, circa 1930, mosaic by Vladimir Makovsky (courtesy of Siegelson)

“Siegelson and JCK have both reinvented themselves over the past century. We have long relied on the back issues of Jewelers’ Circular in our research of important historical jewels. In particular, we have a rare Black, Starr & Frost gem-set Tree of Knowledge clock that we know was exhibited at the 1939 World’s Fair because of a picture in the June 1939 Jewelers’ Circular-Keystone.”
Lee Siegelson, gem and jewelry dealer, Siegelson

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terry burman“I’ve been involved in the jewelry industry since 1980, and I’ve seen major changes during that time: the shift in jewelry manufacturing from the U.S., primarily in New York, to Asia, the shift in diamond cutting and polishing from Antwerp to Israel to India, a major reduction in brick-and-mortar jewelry and department stores. The most meaningful change I see currently is the transition to online selling and the introduction of lab-grown diamonds.”
Terry Burman, former CEO, Signet Jewelers

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john kennedy JSAJCK magazine has become far more beautiful and visually appealing—like a Vogue for jewelry, while still publishing vital business information, analysis, and advice. JCK has also been a very important supporter of the work of JSA to keep the industry safe. The magazine has spread the message of security advice to a very large and important audience.”
John J. Kennedy, president, Jewelers’ Security Alliance

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cathy calhoun“I’ve been in the industry since 1985. I was a banker that took a leave of absence to run my friend’s jewelry store. I quickly realized I had no idea what the jewelry business was all about. I came across a library of jewelry magazines in his office: Jewelers’ Circular-Keystone. I studied what the industry experts had to say. It got me through the first holiday season with a bang, and I never went back to the banking world.”
Cathy Calhoun, owner, Calhoun Jewelers

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beth gerstein“I count on JCK to keep me up to date on all the important news in the jewelry industry. I read the newsletter daily. I peruse the magazine to get a pulse on product trends or to understand what’s happening in different geographies. We’ve been working with JCK for over a decade at this point.”
Beth Gerstein, cofounder and CEO, Brilliant Earth

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David YurmanJCK has been a longtime and consistent supporter of our brand, and it’s such a great resource for sharing news with both our industry partners and our consumers. JCK has set the ‘gold standard’ for reporting on the creativity of our industry, and we look forward to the next 150 years together!”
David Yurman, cofounder and CEO, David Yurman

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marion fasel“I’ve seen trends go from minimalism and few independent designers in the 1990s to the maximalism of today, and the field full of all kinds of design talent. When I began, there was literally no internet, e-commerce, or Instagram. People are much savvier about jewelry history and the marketplace today. They know what’s out there.”
Marion Fasel, author and founder, TheAdventurine.com

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ben smithee“Blockchain, sustainability, lab-grown diamonds, digital, e-commerce—I see them all as opportunities for the industry to grow and evolve. They provide ways for us to tell new stories. Jewelry brands and retailers today should be so excited about the future.”
Ben Smithee, founder and CEO, The Smithee Group

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jenny luker“My first impression of the magazine was that it was a one-stop shop: business information, the latest in product design and trends, and industry news. Over the years, I’ve found that JCK also looks to the future, helping the industry determine what’s going to happen next, how it will affect the business, and what companies can do or need to do to stay competitive.”
Jenny Luker, president, Platinum Guild International USA

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“When I joined the industry 32 years ago, it was going through a major change. The chain of distribution was changing, eliminating the wholesaler so that the wholesaler either disappeared or became a manufacturer. Manufacturing was starting to go overseas, and overseas companies were opening and buying companies here. All of these changes affected the industry, but probably not as much as the ­changing lifestyles and buying patterns of American consumers.”
Phyllis Bergman, former CEO, Mercury Ring

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mcteigue and mcclelland dandelion pins
Dandelion diamond puff pin with 0.66 cts. t.w. diamonds in 18k gold and enamel, $10,500,
Dandelion pin in 18k Bloomed gold and enamel, $7,400; Mcteigue & McClelland; mc2jewels.com

“I started out 38 years ago as a diamond broker, working on the trading floors of the Diamond Trade Association and the Diamond Dealers Club. JCK had already been in existence for several decades when my great-grandfather founded McTeigue & Co. in 1895. Oftentimes…I would learn about the four generations of my family in the pages of JCK.”
Walter McTeigue, president, McTeigue & McClelland

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“For 150 years, JCK has played a critical role in sharing news, educating, and challenging our industry. There is tremendous value in having an outside voice asking the important questions, capturing the ever-changing business, and bringing the community together. Looking through our archives, we find the big moments in our company’s history captured in JCK articles.”
Lisa Bridge, president, Ben Bridge Jeweler

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“One favorite memory from my time at JCK was the 1992 launch of the inaugural JCK show, then called Jewelry ’92. At that time, the magazine and show were one. When [former JCK editor-in-chief] George Holmes first announced at an editorial staff meeting that the new show was going to be in Las Vegas, I exclaimed, ‘But there’s no jewelry manufacturing in Las Vegas!’ He replied, ‘There isn’t any in Basel, Switzerland, either.’ Touché.”
Hedda Schupak, jewelry industry analyst and former JCK editor-in-chief

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susan jacques“I’ve been in the industry for four decades, and some of the most apparent changes in the industry incorporate the use of technology. Blockchain may bring the necessary traceability. Laboratory-grown diamonds are now a commercially viable product. Branding of jewelry and gemstones has become a strong and sustainable trend, and diamond grading reports enable the global trading of diamonds online.”
Susan M. Jacques, president and CEO, GIA