Editor’s Letter, March–April 2016: Grand Designs

In early February, I sat down with designers Sarah Graham and Todd Reed for a “fireside chat” on the floor of the JCK Tucson show to talk about their careers in jewelry, what’s left on their professional bucket lists, and why they’re excited about 2016. It was a great start to the show, which was revamped beautifully this year to reflect its designer jewelry focus (check out the party pics in Social Diary!).

Designers, as we all know, are the heart and soul of this industry—which explains why JCK’s annual Jewelers’ Choice Awards draw so much attention every year, and why the winners take such pride in their achievements. Take the grand-prize-winning pink diamond ring on our cover—kudos to Rahaminov Diamonds for scoring some hard-earned bragging rights.

You’ll find most of the designers who entered the competition—and are featured in the Best of the Best supplement that accompanies this issue—at JCK Las Vegas, which, as you’ll soon see, has undergone some changes this year. We’ve included a glimpse of those changes in “Strip the Light Fantastic,” contributor Kristin Young’s guide to the best things to see, do, and eat in Sin City.

Before you start planning your Vegas itinerary, however, check out the tax tips in “Gimme a (Tax) Break,” contributor Mark E. Battersby’s timely feature on a host of esoteric tax provisions that all jewelers should note.

I know what I’d blow my (mythical) tax returns on: jewelry that pays homage to the motifs and gemstones of Native American style. I’ve been besotted with turquoise and Navajo iconography since researching a story last year on the famed Yazzie family of jewelers in New Mexico. Read all about how contemporary designers across the country are drawing on traditional tribal style in their own work in senior editor Jennifer Heebner’s thoughtful silver jewelry feature.

A Navajo silver and Bisbee turquoise bracelet I bought at AGTA

But that’s not all we’ve got to say about silver. Don’t miss the clever silver jewelry still life conceived by photo editor Leah Rudolfo, designed by senior art director Lance Pettiford, and photographed by Ted Morrison, “Metal at Work.” If you don’t already know it, this layout will serve as proof that JCK has the most talented design team in the business.

Speaking of gifted designers, I owe a huge shout-out to Simon Alcantara, the subject of “Designer’s Advocate.” A successful jeweler, a tireless -promoter of his fellow designers, and an all-around lovely person, Alcantara is both a friend and an inspiration.

I could say the same thing about the late, great Cindy Edelstein (as could anyone who ever had the pleasure to work with her). Cindy passed away unexpectedly in January. The jewelry industry is a lonelier, less vibrant place without her. But her legacy looms large. She played no small part in fostering within our industry a design culture that celebrates originality, innovation, and artisanry. Thank you, Cindy, for taking this trade to the next level!

Top: Me, my friend Jen, and my sister Julia with the Navajo tribesman who leads a morning ritual at JCK Tucson
Gomelsky photograph by Steven Simko

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