It Happened One Night (at JCK Las Vegas)

There was a moment in Las Vegas when I knew the JCK show’s much-hyped move to Mandalay Bay had succeeded. It didn’t occur during a show appointment, nor at one of the many dinners I attended over the course of my weeklong stay. True to the trade’s hard-partying reputation, it happened on the dance floor.

After Bruno Mars’ performance on the beach at Mandalay Bay on Sunday night, my friends and I made our way to eyecandy, the late-night DJ lounge in the middle of the casino floor. As I surveyed the exuberant scene—jewelers of all ages, styles, and persuasions shaking it to a series of infectious hip-hop beats—I was struck by the relaxed, easy, genuinely cheerful vibe that permeated the room.

In one direction, I spotted Michael Schechter, our Jewelry 2.0 columnist, ­grooving to the music with a big, happy grin on his face. In the other direction, there was Desiree Hanson, director of industry development at JCK Events, ­posing for pictures with a crew of adoring exhibitors.

The enthusiasm on the dance floor late on Sunday night was nothing compared to the (mostly) glowing reports that greeted me the following morning, as I walked from booth to booth, listening to people recount the best show they’d had in years.

Hanson and her cohorts at JCK Events—Dave Bonaparte, Yancy Weinrich, John Tierney, and Liz Irving, among others—deserve high praise for the show’s seamless transition to its new home at Mandalay Bay (as do the staff of MGM Resorts, where a “culture of yes” played no small part in the smooth move). But there was a larger explanation for the good moods in Las Vegas.

Beverly Poppe

Beverly Poppe

Bruno Mars’ packed show at the JCK Rocks the Beach party at Mandalay Bay was the perfect conclusion to a successful event.

The economy, mercurial as ever, has no shortage of surprises up her sleeve. While high unemployment, stagnant wages, rising gas prices, and lingering uncertainty have the pundits debating the strength of the recovery, there’s no denying the strong business that prevailed at JCK. Our annual “Best in Show” feature honors the most memorable events, booths, people, news, and sales of the week, to give those who couldn’t be there a taste of what they missed.

Unless you were a guest at Mandalay Bay, THEhotel, or the Four ­Seasons, you probably missed yours truly—along with my dashing co-host, Mark Smelzer—on channel 35, aka JCK TV, where we brought you televised reports from the show floor. The segments were interspersed with scenes from the new JCK Rock Star series that debuted in Vegas. (Read about our talented crew of contestants in “Who Will Be JCK’s Rock Star?” then watch them in action at the new and improved

JCK’s rapid expansion into video is one way things are changing around here. But that’s just the beginning. In short, we’ve embraced a philosophy that I know resonates with our colleagues at JCK Events, not to mention the jewelers I joined on the dance floor at eyecandy, who seemed not only unfazed by the show’s shift in venue, but downright thrilled by it: Nothing endures but change (as Heraclitus so eloquently wrote)…so let’s make the most of it!