It was my great honor this week to be inducted into the 24 Karat Club of the City of New York! The esteemed organization—best known for hosting 1,000-plus people at its annual black-tie gala, held every January at the Waldorf Astoria—has just 200 members at any given time, so an invitation to join is coveted and rare. The club is made up mostly of jewelry manufacturers and wholesalers, but it also has a few “service sector” members (trade shows, trade publications, associations), of which I am now one.
Founded in 1901, the 24 Karat Club is almost as old as JCK (which dates to 1869), and like the magazine, it traces its roots back to the days when the jewelry industry was headquartered on New York City’s Maiden Lane. The club’s origin can be traced to the 1900 McKinley-Roosevelt Victory Dinner (McKinley was a Republican backed by the jewelry industry for his election plank of keeping America on the gold standard). The dinner was such a success that in January of 1902, the club’s first black-tie gala was held.
The 24 Karat Club gathers for the President’s Dinner, hosted by Leo Kaplan, in 1961 at the Waldorf Astoria.
At the recent club luncheon, I shared the story of Bill Farmer of Farmer’s Jewelry in Lexington, Ky., greeting me the moment I walked into my first industry event. (“You’re the new publisher of JCK?” he asked me. “We want to meet you!”) From that moment on, I’ve felt embraced by the industry, and being invited to join the 24 Karat Club is a pinnacle of this journey. Many thanks to the club and my sponsor, Roger Gesswein, for this honor.
Also exciting this month was our big win at FOLIO: magazine’s annual Eddie and Ozzie Awards for excellence in editorial and design, respectively. The May 2013 issue of JCK won the Eddie for Best Full Issue, B2B Retail! If the Eddies are the publishing world’s answer to the Oscars, that makes the Best Full Issue award our Best Picture. Many, many congratulations to Victoria Gomelsky and her editorial team on a truly great accomplishment. It’s a wonderful reflection on our industry that our “book of record” is recognized as the best retail trade magazine in the country.
Looking ahead to 2014, it’s going to be an exciting year. As of this writing, the holiday season is looking good for the jewelry industry, and that’s, hopefully, a harbinger of things to come.
I look forward to seeing everyone at January’s big trade events, including the above-mentioned 24 Karat gala, the Jewelry Information Center’s GEM Awards at New York City’s Cipriani 42nd Street, and the VicenzaOro fair in Italy.
Happy New Year!