From the Editor, September–October 2019: A Look Back 150 Years

JCK editor in chief Victoria GomelskySeven minutes.

That’s how long it takes to walk from JCK’s current office at One World Trade Center in lower Manhattan to its original location at 229 Broadway. We’ve traveled 150 years in time only to end up right where we started. For a jewelry magazine, coming full circle has the loveliest ring to it.

When I accepted the position of editor-in-chief in the summer of 2010, I had no idea how much history JCK had been witness to—nor did I appreciate the remarkable editorial legacy that I was about to inherit.

I had been writing for a couple of rival trade publications since 2000 and was keenly aware of JCK’s juggernautlike position in the biz. But it had never occurred to me that I might be ready to take the editorial reins. Thankfully, I had two experts on staff to help with the transition: Melissa Bernardo, JCK’s managing editor, who has not only made my job easier over the past decade, she’s become a trusted adviser and dear friend (all EICs should be blessed with a colleague as talented, devoted, clever, and puntastic as Melissa!); and news director Rob Bates, whose reputation for superb reporting is matched only by his capacity to write clearly, quickly, and profoundly about topics that few people, if any, know better.

Since then, we’ve assembled a small team of superstar writers and creatives—including senior editor Emili Vesilind, style writers Brittany Siminitz and Amy Elliott, creative director Peter Yates, photo director Freyda Tavin, jewelry editor Rima Suqi, jewelry director Randi Molofsky, and copy editors Sharon Congdon, Ben Spier, and Lori White—without whom the beautiful publication you now hold in your hands would not be possible.

Another thing I didn’t realize is that since 1903, when The Jewelers’ Circular-Weekly began to name its editorial staff, we’ve had only 10 editors-in-chief, including industry luminaries Hedda Schupak and Peggy Jo Donahue and the legendary George Holmes, a former newspaper reporter from Ireland whose two stints at the helm of the publication began in 1974 and totaled 23 years.

Earlier this summer, I called Holmes to ask what he recalled most vividly about his days at JCK. “In the late ’70s, you had the beginning of the watch revolution and you had the whole business of diamond and gem investment; inflation was going crazy,” he told me. “I think the average jeweler was very confused.”

Then, as now, running a retail jewelry business required owners to master myriad specialties, from crime prevention to gemology to sales. For 150 years, JCK has armed them with the knowledge they needed to thrive. And we intend to keep it that way for the next 150!

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