American Gem Society’s Anniversary Party

The 2014 American Gem Society Conclave, which marks the group’s 80th year, takes San Diego by storm

The 600 retailers expected to attend this year’s American Gem Society Conclave, set for April 22–26 at the historic Hotel del Coronado in San Diego, have a lot to be excited about. AGS celebrates its 80th anniversary this year, and the milestone will be reflected in the conference’s overall theme: “Be Different. Be Distinctive. Be Here.”

The group is championing that message partly by bringing back “members-teaching-members” segments in which attendees can benefit from the “sharing of their successes and failures,” says Alethea Inns, director of gemology and education for AGS.

For example, member Erica Courtney will share her experiences working in Hollywood and offer tips to help jewelers get exposure in their own markets, which they can use to drive traffic to their stores. Basketball legend Magic ­Johnson—one of four keynote speakers—will talk about teamwork and his passion for business and philanthropy, while graffiti artist and TED presenter Erik Wahl will live-paint a visual metaphor during a breakfast presentation designed to inspire profitability and innovation.

The annual fashion show organized by the Jewelry Information Center will take place on the evening of April 23, with more than 35 suppliers on hand to go over their jewelry displays with retailers after the show.

Of all the speakers and sessions scheduled for Conclave, deputy executive director Donna Jolly seems most enthused about the returning emcee, JCK senior editor Rob Bates. (Unfortunately, the seasoned host has refused to dish on his new schtick. “I have some surprises planned,” he says cryptically. “It should be a lot of fun.”)

Which means there’s only one way to find out whether the Hotel del Coronado’s well-known ghost stories—rooms 3502 and 3312 are said to be haunted—will figure into his repertoire: Crash the party.

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