Bravo for the Rio!

The Las Vegas Antique Jewelry and Watch Show, held May 29-June 1 at the Rio Suite Hotel and Casino, enjoyed excellent attendance as 289 exhibitors showcased their wares for an audience of 3,428 visitors. The show continues to be a destination point for antique and estate jewelry buyers. “People are very specific,” said a representative for Time Warp, South Miami, Fla. “They know exactly what they want.”

But no matter what the desired item—jewelry by the big names (Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier, David Webb), Victorian slide bracelets, vintage watches, or antique reproduction engagement rings—visitors had much to choose from. And according to many exhibitors, a good show was had by all.

“This was the best Las Vegas show we’ve had for years,” said Tom Waldron of Southern Classic Jewelry, Atlanta, who attributed much of his success to the fact that this year’s show opened one day before the neighboring JCK Show. Waldron’s company, which showcases a wide variety of antique and estate pieces, saw continued interest in antique diamond engagement rings. Waldron says that he’s noticing a drop in the average age of the customers searching for an original and unusual engagement ring. In addition to the 40-50+ age bracket that has shown steady interest, Waldron says the number of customers in their 20s and 30s has jumped.

Some excellent pieces were offered at the show. John T. Haynes Inc., Dallas, exhibited some exceptional colored stone pieces, including rings featuring large Kashmir sapphires or untreated Colombian emeralds. W. Truman Limited, London, showcased a good selection of conch pearl jewelry, with pearls ranging from the most desirable pink to those in just as attractive (but more of an acquired taste) shades of orange and yellow. And Helen Duvall of Turco Antique Jewellery, London, offered some unusual items, including ancient Egyptian and Roman beaded pieces and long Elizabethan and Georgian chains.

Two show-stopping diamond necklaces also appeared at the Rio. Joden World Resources of Grove City, Pa., showed an astounding 170-ct. t.w. diamond necklace originally owned by Consuelo Vanderbilt, the Duchess of Marlborough, while Hancocks & Co. Jewellers Ltd., London, offered one originally belonging to the Duke of Medinaceli that weighed 107 cts. Both necklaces featured enough glitter to rival the brightness of the Las Vegas sun.

Next year’s show will run at the same venue from June 3-June 6, 2004. For information, contact show manager Andrea Canady at (239) 732-6642 or visit www.dmgantiqueshows.com.