Happy September! I’m writing from the American Airlines Admirals Club in Atlanta, having just finished two days at the SJTA Atlanta Jewelry Show. This fall is going to be full of major travel, as I’ve realized just how important it is to visit friends and clients in person, attend major industry events as a JCK brand ambassador, and simply have those random moments of connection that often lead to big things in life. So even if it means traveling to Atlanta, Dallas, Panama City, Miami, Hong Kong, and Los Angeles in the next three months, here we go!
The Atlanta fair was well attended and looked better than ever. I love the show’s mellow style and truly appreciate having the time and opportunity to really catch up with folks. Congrats to SJTA’s Carol Young on this year’s edition.
As always, the Southeastern United States 24 Karat Club held its black-tie gala that Saturday night and it was (predictably) a blast. Terry Chandler passed the baton of club presidency to Robert Loving of Time Delay. Congrats!
On the floor at the SJTA Atlanta Jewelry Show
Previously, at home in New York City, we all enjoyed New York City’s jewelry week, including the JA Show at the Javits Center and the LUXURY Privé show at The Pierre. The week also included two of the industry’s best events: the Women’s Jewelry Association Awards for Excellence gala at Chelsea Piers and the American Gem Society’s Circle of Distinction awards at the Plaza Hotel.
This year’s WJA award winners included our good friend Darwin Copeman of Jewelers’ Mutual Insurance Co. and Candy Udell of London Jewelers. In just three years, Darwin has become well-known and well-liked in our industry, and JMI appears to be thriving under his leadership. When I first began at JCK, I launched an advertising campaign highlighting prestigious retail families (and JCK readers). Candy Udell and her family featured prominently in the campaign, so I feel like I saw an old friend honored that evening.
Candy Udell charms the crowd at the WJA awards. “Jewelry is a woman’s best insurance policy,” she declared.
The AGS winners included Helzberg Diamonds’ Beryl Raff, the Centurion Show’s Howard Hauben, and the Bromberg family of Underwood Jewelers (Florida) and Bromberg Jewelers (Alabama). A highlight was Underwood’s Michael Richards, who told a long, classic Southern-style joke about Clayton Bromberg that was authentic down to the “damn Yankee” punch line and roars of laughter. Richards’ speech was both funny and touching, and Clayton only made the evening better by talking about the work his family has done in Africa. Just when I thought I knew the depth of charitable giving in this industry, I was, once again, surprised.
It was also wonderful to see Ruth Batson receive impromptu recognition for her 20 years with AGS. My first industry event was an AGS Circle of Distinction dinner (2004!). I was impressed with Ruth that day and have been ever since.
I’m looking forward to my upcoming road warrior-ing in the months ahead, and I look forward to seeing you along the way!