I’ve just finished the four-day marathon of luncheons, dinners, board meetings, and galas that is the 24 Karat Club Weekend, here in New York City. If the energy and vibe of this year’s events are any indication, it’s going to be an exciting and upbeat year.
First up was the second annual Diamond Empowerment Fund Good Awards on Jan. 10, hosted by hip-hop impresario Russell Simmons and our industry’s very own superstar Phyllis Bergman! The organization, which provides educational resources to economically disadvantaged people in African nations where diamonds are a resource, has long recognized the need for social responsibility. These efforts not only do the right thing, but also help form a good impression of the trade among the most socially connected generation in history. JCK was thrilled to be a primary sponsor.
Friday, Jan. 11, kicked off with the Jewelers Vigilance Committee luncheon, hosted by president, CEO, and general counsel Cecilia Gardner. We all owe a debt of thanks to Cecilia and the JVC for their work to educate and protect all levels of the jewelry trade against liability, litigation, and negative publicity. A highlight of the luncheon was a celebration of outgoing ?Jewelers of America president and CEO Matt Runci. Speaking of debts of gratitude, we all owe a giant one to Matt for his tireless efforts in representing our industry in Washington, D.C.
I toasted my colleagues, JCK editor-in-chief Victoria Gomelsky and JCK Events group vice president Yancy Weinrich, at last month’s 24 Karat Club gala.
Friday night saw the Jewelry Information Center’s GEM Awards, which this year honored Town & Country’s Stellene Volandes, Ippolita (designer of the eponymous line), and (no surprise) Matt Runci for his lifetime achievement! Congratulations to all at JIC—especially the ever-glamorous Amanda Gizzi—on the sophisticated event.
Saturday’s traditional luncheon for the Jewelers’ Security Alliance was especially interesting this year. President John J. Kennedy thrilled us all by producing the notebook used at the organization’s first meeting, 130 years ago! Most memorable for me, however, was John’s mention of the enduring relationships this industry is lucky to have: Not only does JCK (through our JCK Industry Fund) continue to be a major financial supporter of JSA, but the note-taker at that very first JSA meeting was none other than Daniel Hopkinson, the founding publisher of The Jewelers’ Circular, which purchased and merged with competitor Keystone in the 1930s! To say I felt honored to hold my position is a huge understatement. It was a wonderful moment.
Finally, it was time for the big event of the weekend, the 24 Karat Club black-tie gala at the Waldorf-Astoria. This year’s edition was upbeat and imbued with an optimism I’ve not felt for years. To all who joined JCK in the Herbert Hoover Suite before and after the dinner, I apologize that we were packed to the rafters, but we’re thrilled you were there. We’re all so lucky to be a part of an industry with such warm, outgoing, friendly, and engaged members.
Next up, Mumbai, Phoenix, and Tucson…I hope to see you there!