Our almost-exhaustive guide to JCK and LUXURY, organized in a handy alphabetical list of pavilions, events, trends, and more
We know how intimidating JCK Las Vegas can be. No matter how much time you allow yourself, there’s never quite enough, is there? Even if we’re there from Wednesday, May 30—the very first day of LUXURY—through Monday, June 4, closing day for JCK, LUXURY, AGTA, and JIS Exchange—who among us could possibly cover all 2,100+ exhibitors? Truth: Even the JCK staffers get overwhelmed! That’s why we’ve combed through this year’s offerings and pulled together an A-to-Z guide of all the best JCK has to offer, from speeches and seminars to pavilions and neighborhoods to fashion, trends, and, of course, jewels aplenty. You might not follow it to the letter, but hey—at least now you know your ABCs!
Get to know the names behind the acronyms on Friday, June 1, when all the heavyweight industry groups converge on the Showcase Stage (Bayside, level 1) for Afternoon With the Associations: The WJA (Women’s Jewelry Association) tackles harassment and discrimination; the JVC (Jewelers Vigilance Committee) takes on lab-grown diamonds disclosure and testing; the NCDIA (Natural Color Diamond Association) talks up natural and natural-color diamonds; and more. For a full listing of panels and times, visit lasvegas.jckonline.com/events.
Whether you’re looking to stock up on semi-mounts or track down the trendiest Meghan Markle–inspired three-stone settings, the JCK show has everything you can imagine (and more!) to bejewel future brides and grooms. The Bridal pavilion (Bayside) is flush with the basics—including that all-important wedding-day and wedding-party jewelry—but don’t forget to hit LUXURY for wedding-heavy brands including Sylvie Collection, Coast Diamond, Christopher Designs, and Forevermark, to name just a few. Plus: Platinum Guild International is goin’ to the chapel for the wedding jewelry–themed “Fall in Love With Platinum”—on Friday, June 1 (6–8 p.m., the Chapel at Mandalay Bay).
Up and at ’em! On Thursday, May 31, runners, walkers, and cyclists will hit the road at the obscenely early hour of 5:30 a.m. for the Rings of Strength Tour, the sixth annual athletic benefit for Jewelers for Children. To learn more—yes, you can rent a bike—and to sign up, visit ringsofstrength.org. Then, that evening at 6:30 p.m., put on your best “cocktail-chic” attire for the Diamond Empowerment Fund’s Diamonds Do Good Awards at the Four Seasons Ballroom. This year’s event honors De Beers Group CEO Bruce Cleaver and the government of the Northwest Territories in Canada, home to the Ekati, Diavik, and Gahcho Kué mines. For tickets, go to diamondsdogoodawards.org. (P.S.: To buy the Diamonds Do Good charity bracelet pictured above, visit diamondempowerment.org.)
Looking for a brand-new line? The Design Center (Bayside)—and its sister spot, Design@LUXURY (Shorelines, level 2)—is your source for handcrafted. showstopping collections from still-under-the-radar brands such as Clementine Fine Jewelry, Just Jules, K.Mita Design, M. Spalten, and the Rock Hound. In other words, pick them up now, before everyone gets in on the secret!
When it comes to retail, experiential is fast becoming a cliché. But for brick-and-mortar stores, interactive shopping experiences are more important than ever. That’s why we’ve planned five days—Wednesday–Sunday, May 30–June 3, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.—of “In-Store Experiences” in the Oceanside Ballroom (level 2), full of activities that you can easily stage in your own store. Among them: DIY flower crowns, cupcake wars (yum!), and a meet-and-play session with puppies from the local SPCA. Who’s a good boy?!?
If you own a store where fine and fashion jewelry live together in perfect sparkling harmony—or if you want to operate that kind of store—the Bridge (Bayside) is your go-to ’hood. Call them fine-fashion, call them demi-fine: With nearly 150 exhibitors—such as Lucite king Alexis Bittar, gem-heavy Nina Nguyen, boho-style pearl brand Vincent Peach, and colorful, customizable Les Georgettes—to choose from, bridging the fine and fashion genres has never been so easy (or fun!).
One of our favorite things about the AGTA GemFair at JCK Las Vegas: It opens a full day before JCK. That gives you nearly nine hours on the pool level to get your colored-stone fix before you move on to the other two floors (and nearly 2,000 exhibitors) at the JCK and LUXURY shows. Another thing we love about the American Gem Trade Association show at JCK: the nearly 200 exhibitors, which are guaranteed to have just about any gemstone (rough or faceted) you could want, in any size, shape, or setting you could imagine.
H: Hong Kong
With some 160 exhibitors—among them: Butani, L’Dezen, Lorenzo, and Peter Lam—Hong Kong (Bayside) is the show’s biggest, and perhaps most varied, international neighborhood. (Think diamonds, jade, pearls, and more.) And that’s just one ingredient in the melting pot that is JCK Las Vegas. Around the corner from Hong Kong is a Germany pavilion; and across the aisle is Passport, where you’ll find booths from India, Korea, Mexico, Russia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Turkey. Meanwhile, the VicenzaOro pavilion (Shorelines) boasts an impressive assemblage of 80 made-in-Italy brands.
From the latest laser welders to cutting-edge 3D printers, Essentials & Tech (Bayside) is your one-stop shop for state-of-the-art jewelry tools and technology. Not to mention basics like displays, packaging, lighting—even watch batteries. And for a sneak peek at what’s new and next in the tech arena, don’t miss the JCK Think Tank competition Sunday, June 3 (1–2 p.m., Showcase Stage), where six vendors will present their coolest product, invention, or program. Audience members will vote to select the winner.
J: JIS Exchange
Everyone’s favorite cash-and-carry show, JIS (Jewelers International Showcase) Exchange, is back—this time in a new location: at Mandalay Bay, right in Bayside, running concurrently with JCK, June 1–4. (No more standing outside in 98-degree Vegas heat waiting for a shuttle to the Tropicana! Huzzah!) Restock for summer with nearly 200 brands, including colored-stone specialist Bounkit and Starborn Creations, known for its organic gemstone and silver styles.
If you’re attending the first day of LUXURY, Wednesday, May 30, skip the overpriced room-service omelet in favor of the Retailer Keynote Breakfast (8:30–10 a.m., South Seas Ballroom, level 3) to hear Johnny Earle, pictured, tell the tale of his “t-shirt bakery,” Johnny Cupcakes. There won’t be cupcakes, but there will be breakfast. Then, on Friday, June 1 (7:30–9:30 a.m., South Seas Ballroom), Gina Drosos, CEO of jewelry powerhouse Signet, will deliver the keynote presentation at the JCK Industry Trends Breakfast. You’ll also hear about the findings in JCK’s State of the Jewelry Industry Report (see sidebar). For more info, and to RSVP for Friday’s breakfast, visit lasvegas.jckonline.com/events.
Upscale but not inaccessible is the best way to describe LUXURY, the show-within-a-show, which runs Wednesday, May 30 through Monday, June 4 (Shorelines). As always, the first two days are invite-only, but on Friday, June 1, the 250+ LUXURY exhibitors are open to all JCK Las Vegas attendees. Keep your eyes peeled for elegant diamond designs from Artistry, Norman Silverman, and Rahaminov; alternative engagement rings from Jennifer Dawes; gobstopper gemstones from Erica Courtney, Takat, and Omi Privé; and much, much more.
M: Man-Made Diamonds
Is there any hotter topic right now? This year, JCK Las Vegas is even debuting a Lab-Grown Diamonds pavilion (Bayside). And to help you navigate the often murky waters of detection, nomenclature, and more, we’re offering not one but two seminars: “Laboratory-Grown Diamonds: the Legal Do’s and Don’ts” (Thursday, May 31, 3–3:45 p.m., Tradewinds C/D, pool level) and “Decoding Your Responsibilities on Laboratory-Grown Diamonds, Disclosure, and Testing” (Friday, June 1, 12:15–1 p.m., Showcase Stage), both featuring Jewelers Vigilance Committee president and CEO Tiffany Stevens.
N: Next Year
You might have heard the news: In 2019, JCK Las Vegas is returning to its roots. After eight years at Mandalay Bay, the show is going back to where it all began in 1992: the Sands Expo and Convention Center. Just in time for JCK magazine’s 150th anniversary!
O: Opening and Closing
Here are the days, dates, and times you need to know: The JCK, JIS Exchange, LUXURY, and AGTA shows are open 9:30 a.m.–6 p.m. Friday, June 1, through Sunday, June 3, and 9:30 a.m.–4 p.m. Monday, June 4. AGTA is also open Thursday, May 31, 9:30 a.m.–6 p.m. LUXURY is also open Wednesday, May 30, and Thursday, May 31, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. (invitation-only!)
Tucked inside the LUXURY show, just next to Design@LUXURY, is Prestige, a collection of nearly three dozen upscale brands infused with a chic, classic spirit. This is where you’ll find metal mix-master Lika Behar, Lauren K and her juicy tourmalines, and the Mazza Co.’s amazing aquamarines and baroque pearls.
Q: Quench Your Thirst!
It wouldn’t be Vegas jewelry week without a happy hour (or five). LUXURY hosts show-floor cocktail hours every day 4–5 p.m. (and 3–4 p.m. Monday, June 4). And Friday through Sunday, June 1–3, mix and mingle—and sip!—with JCK’s jewelry-wearing Bling Brigade at the Showcase Stage from 5 to 6 p.m.
The always popular Retailer Roundtables return to the JCK Talks slate on May 31 (Tradewinds meeting rooms, pool level). Just a few of the topics they’ll tackle: “The Evolution of Brick & Mortar” (with Harris Botnick of Worthmore Jewelers); “Hiring, Training & Maintaining Staff” (with Trish Roberson of Roberson’s Fine Jewelry and Sarah Ortega of Sarah O. Jewelry and Ooh! Aah! Jewelry); “Disruption in Retail” (with Not on the High Street’s Leanne Osborne and Lauren Kaminsky Goldman of EZ Pawn Corp., pictured); and more. For a full event listing, visit lasvegas.jckonline.com/events.
S: Strikes and Spares
Rock and roll at our second annual JCK Rocks the Bowl on Sunday, June 3, 8–12 p.m. at the Brooklyn Bowl. Be sure to bring your badge and pick up your ticket on Friday or Sunday at the info counters on the show floor. Even if you’re not a bowler, there will be music, food, and plenty of laughs. Just watch us bowl a few frames. Guaranteed guffaws!
If you’re still stuck on what to stock, fret not: Our experts are here to give you the lowdown on looks for 2018 and beyond. On Friday, June 1, JCK senior editor Emili Vesilind will talk trends with Who What Wear’s Lauren Eggertsen and jewelry consultant Shane Clark (3–4 p.m., Design@LUXURY lounge, level 2). On Saturday, June 2, JCK editor-in-chief Victoria Gomelsky will tell you how to source trends on the show floor (12–12:45 p.m., Showcase Stage). On Sunday, June 3, Vicenza’s famous futurist Paola De Luca looks all the way ahead to 2020 (10:30–11:45 a.m., Showcase Stage). And that evening, Le Vian stages its ever-popular (invitation-only!) Red Carpet Revue/2019 Jewelry & Fashion Trend Forecast, with models bedecked in the brand’s jewels (pictured) and the season’s top hues.
U: Ultra Violet
And speaking of trends…we’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: You cannot go wrong with anything Ultra Violet, Pantone’s 2018 Color of the Year. We were so enchanted by previews of the pretty purple at last year’s Vegas show that we actually put a violet diamond ring on JCK’s July–August 2017 best-in-show cover. And since Pantone made its pick, purple passion hasn’t abated one bit.
Sate your clients’ appetite for all things antique with the Las Vegas Estate Jewelry & Watch pavilion (Bayside), a show-within-a-show at JCK Las Vegas comprising about two dozen vendors displaying one-of-a-kind and vintage jewels. “If you have the No. 1 jewelry show in the world, which I believe JCK is, it rounds out that offering of the last 1,000 years of jewelry in one place,” says Scott Diament, president and CEO of the Palm Beach Show Group, organizer of the pavilion. For more details, see “Affairs of Estate Jewelry”; and for a crash course on how to shop for period pieces, see “Estate Jewelry Secrets.”
The timepiece selection at JCK Las Vegas—from the Clockwork pavilion in Bayside to the Movado Group suite at Swiss Watch—has something for everyone, but fans of minimalist style and women’s watches are in for a special treat. Find sporty models for outdoorsy women at the Abingdon Co., fashion-forward gold wristwatches on colorful snakeskin straps at Versace, and discreet Scandinavian design at Bering.
X: Xtracurricular Activities
You probably have a few free hours here and there—right? Trust us: It’s important to blow off some steam after walking miles and miles and miles around the show floor. Singer-dancer-entertainer Ricky Martin, pictured, is finishing up his Vegas residency: His last three shows are May 30, June 2, and June 3 at the Park MGM (parkmgm.com). If eye-popping acrobatics are more your speed, Cirque du Soleil has six shows for you to choose from, including Michael Jackson One at Mandalay Bay and The Beatles Love at the Mirage (cirquedusoleil.com/las-vegas). And if you just feel like dancing it out, use your JCK badge for complimentary entry to Hakkasan at the MGM Grand (Friday, June 1, and Sunday, June 3, 10:30 p.m.–1 a.m.), Omnia at Caesars Palace (Saturday, June 2, 10:30 p.m.–1 a.m.), and Jewel at the MGM Grand (Monday, June 4, 10:30 p.m.–1 a.m.).
Y: Yellow Gold
We’ll let you in on one of the season’s biggest fashion trends: yellow gold. It’s been getting more popular in engagement rings for a couple of years, but yellow gold everyday pieces—think stacking bangles, chunky cuffs, and layering chains—are becoming hugely popular with self-purchasing women. Look to brands such as Gabriel & Co. and Royal Chain (both in the First Look pavilion in Bayside) for solid-gold styles at wallet-friendly price points.
First things first: Don’t confuse this fiery gem with cubic zirconia. Available in yellow, green, red, reddish brown, and blue hues—as well as a colorless variety known for its brilliance—zircon is beloved by gem connoisseurs for its high refractive index and depth of color. Too often, however, people mistakenly assume it’s an imitation. The disparity may explain why those in the know feel the market is due for a reckoning. “I personally feel zircon is the most undervalued gemstone in the world,” says Dave Bindra, vice president of operations at B & B Fine Gems in Los Angeles. Our advice? Peruse the goods at the AGTA pavilion—and get while the gettin’s good. (Additional reporting by Victoria Gomelsky)
The results of JCK’s first industrywide trends survey are being revealed at JCK Las Vegas
Late last year, JCK commissioned GfK MRI, one of the world’s leading research organizations, to conduct a broad survey of the jewelry industry. Fielded in February and March, the questionnaire covered everything from the product trends that respondents—nearly 7 out of 10 of them retailers—felt had staying power to how greatly e-commerce has changed their business to their total net worth.
The results were illuminating—and more than a little surprising. For starters, we learned that 88 percent of jewelry professionals are very or somewhat optimistic about business over the next 12 months, that 57 percent are optimistic regarding consumer confidence and economic growth, and that their optimism is even more pronounced than that of the American public at large. (Incidentally, we’re so excited by these results that we’re labeling the collective data the “JCK Jewelry Industry Confidence Index”—and we’ll be measuring it annually.)
Among other interesting tidbits we gleaned: Alternative engagement rings ranked No. 1 as the most popular trend of 2018, halo rings and custom designs are neck and neck as the top-selling bridal styles (at 27 percent and 24 percent, respectively), and among the 26 percent of jewelers who sell lab-grown diamonds, 62 percent saw sales increase between 2016 and 2017.
At this month’s JCK Las Vegas, Yancy Weinrich (pictured), senior vice president of Reed Jewelry Group, the parent company to both JCK (the show) and JCK (the magazine), will deliver a full recap of the findings, prefaced by a keynote presentation by Signet Jewelers CEO Gina Drosos. The JCK Industry Trends Breakfast on Friday, June 1, runs from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. in the South Seas Ballroom. If you’re in town, don’t miss out! —Victoria Gomelsky
Top: Le Vian necklace (photograph by Liam Goodman, prop stylist: Elizabeth Press/Judy Casey)
(Puppy: Cynoclub/istock/Getty; Kaminsky Goldman: Wenn; Le Vian model: David Crotty/PMC; Martin: Michael Tran/Getty; zircon: Robert Weldon/GIA; Weinrich: photograph by Camilla Sjodin)