JA New York Show Features Color

The JA New York Summer Show, held at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City on July 28-31, drew slightly fewer than 13,000 buyers. Exhibitors numbered around 1,700.

Traffic was moderate to heavy during the first two days of the show, while the last two days saw considerably less traffic.

In jewelry, turquoise and coral were popular, and colored South Sea and Tahitian pearls mixed with colored stones gave evidence of becoming the next trend. Large cuts of semiprecious stones—especially step cuts from German cutters—were abundant.

Yellow gold made its presence felt, especially in innovative gold links, which showed up in woven looks and added freshness to other designs. Nature-themed jewelry ran the gamut from bees and butterflies to ferns and leaves. In earrings, the most prominent look was long and slender, but chandelier styles also were popular.

Watch notes. The show featured more large or oversized watches (such as Tissot’s new V-8), more use of yellow gold, and more watches with tonneau cases. These included Cyma’s new larger-sized additions to its Imperium series, Jean Marcel’s new super-thin watches for women (the first quartz timepieces for the brand), and Anne Klein New York’s new chronographs.

A number of watches that were new or returning to the U.S. market debuted. They included the revitalized Zodiac brand; high-end Caravelli, designed in Italy and made in Switzerland; Formex, a high-end Swiss titanium sport watch line with built-in suspension; Ritmo Mundo, a line of oversized watches produced by a Beverly Hills jeweler; and Zenith’s new El Primero series.

Other debuts included Chase-Durer’s new women’s fashion watches, a departure from its well-known pilot and chronograph series; Oakley’s first chronograph; Fendi’s Classic Diamond watches; Lancaster’s multicolored women’s bubble watches; Alfred Hamel’s Swiss-made limited editions and new quartz series; and Frederique Constant’s first-ever quartz chronograph, in its Persuasion series.

Many of the newcomers and debuts at the show were showcased in the Concours d’Elegance, co-sponsored by the American Watch Guild (AWG) and held in the Javits Center’s large lobby. Though the JA show had its own “watch village” with several dozen exhibitors, the Concours d’Elegance was where much of the show’s watch action took place this year.

The display, which featured some 50 brands, had an aviation theme, including a Cartier-sponsored exhibition on its famous Santos watch, the first wristwatch; a display of the monoplane flown by Alberto Santos-Dumont, the Brazilian aviation pioneer for whom Cartier named the watch; and an exhibit marking the 75th anniversary of Charles Lindbergh’s historic solo flight from New York to Paris.

A number of jewelry designers also introduced new timepieces, including Nomination, which unveiled its first full collection, all Swiss made, with interchangeable bracelets. David Yurman added a new mid-size watch, Siera of Italy debuted 18k watches with pastel mother-of-pearl dials, and Fedra added a uniquely styled white gold and diamond luxury watch on a black strap.

Career outreach unveiled. During the first day of the show, Jewelers of America unveiled its new outreach program, called “Careers in the Jewelry Industry,” to attract young people and career changers to the jewelry business. JA officials worry that the traditional source of personnel growth—the family—no longer suffices. “It is obvious that our traditional job pool has dried up,” David Peters, JA director of education, said during a press conference at the show. “The family has traditionally been the base of job replenishment, but today’s culture has killed that.”

“By taking an active approach in recruiting, we will ensure that our industry attracts high-caliber individuals,” said JA president and CEO Matt Runci. “Having hard-working, intelligent, dependable individuals join our ranks will be a tremendous asset for our industry for many years to come.”

The program includes a comprehensive guidebook explaining careers in the jewelry industry as well as a brochure that’s a condensed version of the guidebook.