JCK 150 Years, 150 Voices: Part 3

JCK would be nowhere without the industry insiders who have helped the magazine along the way—by making the news, reading it in our pages, or both. So we asked 150 of them to join the dialogue about how the jewelry business has changed over the decades and the role we have played in that evolution. Here are the third 25.

jane taylor ring stack
Cirque square stacking bands in 14k gold with mixed precious and semiprecious gemstones including sapphire, garnet, iolite, amethyst, tourmaline, diamond, topaz, and zircon; Jane Taylor Jewelry

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“My first direct experience with JCK came in the form of Billy Furman, whose position was in sales but who did so very much more. He connected people from all ends of the business, no matter how small, like my business, or large. Billy had a great talent for making everyone feel welcome and like they belonged to a big jewelry family. JCK is a ­pillar of this jewelry family.”
Jane Taylor, owner and designer, Jane Taylor Jewelry

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jeff corey“In the past, a family jeweler was looked upon as a ­professional, much like the family doctor, accountant, or attorney. He or she was a person you trusted for purchasing jewelry as well as for providing professional advice. Today, there are so many places to purchase jewelry that consumers are confused and more mistrusting. Jewelry has become more of a commodity.”
Jeff Corey, co-owner and president, Day’s Jewelers

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severine ferrarri“I have been covering bridal jewelry for over 20 years, and the category has changed so much—especially the engagement ring niche. Back then, there were two setting types: Tiffany-style and filigree. Brilliant and princess-cut diamonds were the only two popular options. I believe the reasons for this were: (1) Guys were in charge of picking the engagement ring; and (2) most bridal jewelry ­designers were men. Today, women decide which ring they want, and women ­designers create an array of alternative ring styles. It has become much more fun to cover!”
Severine Ferrari, founder and editor, Engagement 101 and Propose Too 

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cheryl kremkow“It seemed crazy when JCK launched its trade show in Las Vegas. But the JCK show not only transformed jewelry trade shows, it also transformed trade journalism by providing a new revenue stream. The success of the trade show business allowed journalism to continue to thrive at JCK and to make the difficult transition to digital distribution. I hope JCK’s tradition of excellence will continue for another 150 years.”
Cheryl Kremkow, founder and director, Citrine Media

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karen goracke“Many things impact our business, but our core mission has remained the same: We help our customers celebrate special moments in their lives. And jewelry captures a memory in such a unique way. I love wearing my mother’s pieces—it connects me to her. What other industry can create that magic?”
Karen Goracke, president and CEO, Borsheims Fine Jewelry & Gifts

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danielle miele“I published my first blog post on Gem Gossip in July 2008. Most stores didn’t have their own website, let alone e-commerce. Instagram didn’t exist. I’ve seen such a transition with how consumers buy, search for, and seek out fine jewelry. People are selling diamond engagement rings through DMs—mind-blowing, right? I think it is just the tip of the iceberg.”
Danielle Miele, founder, Gem Gossip

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dallas prince“The ­jewelry ­industry is the most ­complex, unique, ­multicultural phenomenon in the world, and everyone involved respects each other for what they bring to the table. A handshake is still considered your bond. I love this industry.”
Dallas Prince, owner and designer, Dallas Prince Designs

2013 AGTA Spectrum-winning twilight blush morganite and diamond earrings; Dallas Prince

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“Throughout my time at JCK, I wrote a column for every issue entitled Counterpoint…focused on situations in the industry, and it gave me the opportunity to write for a respected, well-known industry publication. The seven years I spent with JCK were some of the most positive, productive, and pleasant years of my work experience.”
Frank Dallahan, copublisher, The Retail Jeweler; former publisher, JCK

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marty hurwitzJCK is like the wise and wealthy aunt that shows up for Passover, having traveled the world. She doesn’t have to say a lot, but when she speaks, everyone listens. She is class personified, and all of the young look up to her and emulate her. All the grownups continue to interact with her, as they have for years, to find new strategy and direction. JCK is a feminine spirit guide for the jewelry industry and the many people that make their careers in the business. JCK is zen.”
Marty Hurwitz, founder and CEO, MVI Marketing

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richard drucker“I pulled a JCK magazine from about 20 years ago off my shelf when I was preparing this to see how much has changed. It was a fun experience; one of my articles appeared. There was also some controversy being discussed in the issue on synthetic and treated diamonds—see, not much has changed. We still discuss the same topics, but with new technology and new information.”
Richard Drucker, founder and president, Gemworld International

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katie kinsella murphy“I think the biggest change in the industry comes from social media and the digital age. The way we all communicated and interacted was completely different when I first started—I spent many days faxing press releases and insertion orders! The way we market to consumers has changed, too: They want to be educated on the brand, but you have about 15 seconds to engage them.”
Katie Kinsella Murphy, owner and chief marketing officer, Kinney + Kinsella

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Original Roslyn collection yellow gold octagonal halo and trefoil diamond sides engagement mounting; Tiny Jewel Box

JCK was my gateway into our industry, its personalities, its products and producers, and its issues. It led me into our industry and has remained a valued source of information for me during all of my career.”
Jim Rosenheim, chairman, Tiny Jewel Box

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jen cullen williams“[Speaking] as a publicist and marketer, JCK is the leading media outlet for jewelry and watch industry companies to communicate corporate news to the jewelry, watch, and retail communities. Personally, I’ve loved forging ­long-standing relationships with the hardworking and talented editorial and advertising teams at JCK magazine.”
Jen Cullen Williams, ­managing director, Luxury Brand Group

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esther fortunoff“I remember the heady days during the jewelry industry’s most recent boom years, in the last decades of the 20th century. There would be customers eight-deep at the counters at Fortunoff stores during the holiday season. Today, those crowds are more likely to browse our inventory online before shopping in store. Luckily, fine jewelry is a category where seeing it in person and trying it on matters, so we do still get a chance to interact with a lot of customers in person. But we also communicate with them quite a bit on our social media pages. It’s great to have one-on-one conversations online.”
Esther Fortunoff, owner and president, Fortunoff Fine Jewelry

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“I grew up in the jewelry business, watching my dad, Harold, buy exquisite pieces of jewelry. He wasn’t concerned with the cost and turn—if it sat in our inventory for a couple of years, oh well. Today is different. Tying up big dollars in important pieces takes much more consideration. As we all know, profit margins have reduced considerably. The internet has made the world a much smaller place, and we find ourselves in continuous discussion [about] how to grow our business.”
Cathy Tivol, owner, Tivol

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sarin bachmann“One of the things I love most about our industry is the people and the passion everyone has for what they do. There are so many family-owned businesses passed down from generation to generation, and so many who, although they may change jobs within the industry, would never imagine leaving it. Although technology and trends change over the years, I love that the people and the passion for what we do have remained unchanged.”
Sarin Bachmann, event vice president, Reed Jewelry Group

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jennifer gandia“While I grew up the daughter of jewelers, my background was in public ­relations and marketing—what did I know about the jewelry industry? I learned by using the tools I had at the time, and JCK was one I leaned on most. I read the issues cover to cover. What I love about JCK today is that the publication has evolved so beautifully. People say print is dead—well, not when you create such stunning editorial! It’s modern, visually appealing—dare I say sexy, at times—and makes me fall in love with jewelry all over again with every issue.”
Jennifer Gandia, co-owner, Greenwich St. Jewelers

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“The industry has changed so much in the more than 20 years I’ve been active in it. Today, it’s all about innovation and creating a product that fills a need retailers didn’t even know they had. The successful retail stores are the ones wise enough to realize that if they don’t modernize their store and selling strategies, they will not be around for much longer. They have to go after the business—nothing just comes to you anymore.”
Kendra Bridelle, sales ­director, Freida Rothman

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mark moellerJCK has meant the difference between success and failure for me. The information I gathered from JCK provided a blueprint on how to build a successful business. I devoured stories on how the most successful jewelers ran their businesses and applied their recommendations to my business. When we were expanding, I scoured JCK to learn from my peers and avoid their pitfalls. Even though we subscribe to many other trade magazines, JCK is always our go-to publication.”
Mark Moeller, CEO, R.F. Moeller Jeweler

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sissy jonesJCK has been a mentor to me throughout my 49 years in the business. They have held my hand when we were faced with challenges and changes. They have also helped me stay on top of trends and new designers, so I can be an expert to my customers. Sissy’s Log Cabin has been known for having the latest in precious gemstones, metals, and designers. This was due to the information provided by JCK. They have been a trusted and reliable source to not only me, but to my team, so we can be better jewelers.”
Sissy Jones, founder, Sissy’s Log Cabin

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JCK is owner of a profound legacy—an enduring testament to American journalism in the jewelry trade. I am very proud of my time there, the beginning of my career. I can only hope that what we wrote about a few decades ago actually helped jewelers to survive and thrive. JCK has evolved: A new generation of editors consistently delivers a fresh, exciting look and manages to keep JCK as a must-have journal in stores at a time when so much information is available from so many diverse resources. Despite competition, JCK endures.”
Robert Weldon, director, ­Richard T. Liddicoat Gemological Library and Information Center, GIA, and former JCK senior editor

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nilesh shethJCK has always been at the forefront in covering the latest trends and up-and-coming designers. Once print media started declining, they were one of the first in the industry that transitioned…starting the website, sending weekly e-mails, and making sure the news they shared was up-to-date. Congratulations to JCK and the editorial team for always keeping the industry well informed and for keeping the content interesting.”
Nilesh Sheth, president, Nice Diamonds

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18k gold earrings with special-cut aquamarine slices, round peridot, and diamonds; Judith Ripka

“I have been in the industry for 40-plus years. When I first started my business, the biggest obstacle to overcome was ­finding my voice in a male-dominated industry. Since then…many more female entrepreneurs have entered. Another ­important change has been the growth of a digital presence: It’s imperative that brands have an e-commerce platform and that they engage with customers through social media.”
Judith Ripka, chief designer, Judith Ripka Fine Jewelry

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Kathryn Kimmel“My career in this industry began over half a century ago in the back room of my parents’ jewelry store. I remember each month we would wait for the JCK magazine because it was the one source of up-to-date and reliable information. When a new issue arrived, we would pass it around, eagerly flipping through each page. Every copy was archived—my parents would even rip out certain articles and file them for future reference. Years later, when I cleaned out my parents’ files, there were all kinds of articles from JCK that had been saved over the years.”
—Kathryn Kimmel, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, GIA

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pat henneberry“I’ve been in this industry for 33 years. Let me say what hasn’t changed. Our industry, like many, is hit with tons of disruption, and it always survives. Whether it’s Walmart buying Keepsake, Costco selling diamonds, big-box stores threatening mom-and-pop shops, TV shopping networks moving in, or laboratory diamonds taking on real diamonds—these are all things that have threated to corrupt or change our industry, yet we continue to adapt and move forward. We are lucky that many of the same people stay within the industry; we aren’t a huge one. We are small, strong, and we continue to fight through whatever disruptors come next.”
Pat Henneberry, founder and president, The Jewelry Coach