Editor’s Letter, June 2016: Transformation Age

If I had to pick one global city as a poster child for change, there’d be no contest: Dubai all the way. In April, I spent three days there as a guest of the VicenzaOro Dubai show and was reminded how easily a city can shape shift. 

My first visit to the United Arab Emirates was in 2004, when it was still shaking off its past as a desert backwater. Two years later, I returned to attend the International Colored Gemstone Association’s biannual congress and didn’t recognize the place. Construction on the Burj Khalifa—at 2,716.5 feet high, the world’s tallest building—had begun, but the mother of all skyscrapers was still largely a gleam in the developer’s eye. 

With a decade having passed since my last visit, I was prepared to be blindsided by the city’s growth. Sure enough, the construction cranes are still a ubiquitous sight in Dubai, but signs of a more progressive spirit have started to seep in. On trendy Alserkal Avenue, a gallery scene has taken root. Cafés selling organic smoothies are opening up. There is finally a tourist scene beyond the big international hotels.

The point I’m making is that change is both inevitable and good. Those of you reading this at JCK Las Vegas might want to adopt that as a mantra. A sizable expansion of the Mandalay Bay Convention Center has transformed the event, so you’ll want to download the JCK mobile app and pay attention to where you’re headed. In our cover story, we share our picks for things to see and do at the show, which turns 26 this year—bigger and better than ever.

Now that I think about it, the “change is good” mantra might help us all survive this cuckoo election year. To get a grip on the topics that matter most to JCK’s retail readers, we asked contributor Whitney Sielaff to talk politics with some of the country’s finest jewelers. Read his engaging report, “Hot Politics.”

Elsewhere in this dense show bible, you’ll find a feature package titled, simply, “Marketing for the Ages.” Millennials may be the talk of the town, but we wanted to show you how to target consumers inside and outside the Gen Y bracket. The four-part series is our guide to cultivating customers from all demographics: baby boomers, Gen X, millennials, and up-and-coming Gen Z. (For a diamond-slanted take on millennials, don’t miss news director Rob Bates’ “Diamond Futures.”)

Developing deep and respectful relationships with vendors, however, is just as important as cultivating clients. Senior editor Jennifer Heebner examines the reasons so many designers are opting out of wholesale—and the role retailers play in that phenomenon.  

We round out the issue with two breathtaking product features. Senior editor Emili Vesilind’s “Color Game Theory” is a gorgeous ode to Pantone’s color palette for the fall season, while “Game of Stones” is a playful and pitch-perfect homage to diamonds in Las Vegas. We hope you’re feeling lucky! 

Top: Spotted in Dubai: Elaborate gold jewels including this bib necklace at VicenzaOro Dubai, and this arachnid wall clock at M.A.D.Gallery on trendy Alserkal Avenue. 

(Gomelsky photograph by Steven Simko)