JCKers in the News! Publisher’s Letter, September 2012

Welcome to the September issue of JCK and the beginning of fall!

The summer wrapped up nicely with late July’s annual jewelry week in New York City. Anchored by the JA Show at the Javits Center and JCK Events’ LUXURY Privé show at the Pierre Hotel, the week included two of my favorite events, the Women’s Jewelry Association Awards for Excellence Gala and the American Gem Society’s ­Circle of Distinction Awards Gala.

Once again, WJA’s event was held at Chelsea Piers, with the Hudson River and setting sun providing a beautiful backdrop. With more than 600 attendees, this year’s edition was huge. I was flattered and honored to be asked by Rio Tinto’s Rebecca Foerster to introduce her and the Rio Tinto organization as she accepted the Corporate Award for Excellence. As I mentioned in my speech, Rio Tinto is one of the biggest players in our industry (accounting for 20 percent of the world’s diamond production) as well as one of the most involved; its symposiums, design competitions, and diamond marketing efforts benefit us all. Likewise, Rebecca, vice president and manager of the U.S. representative office, is a major player in our industry who gives back through board membership at the Diamond Empowerment Fund, Jewelers Vigilance Committee, ­Jewelers for Children, and the WJA!

Lester Austin
Step up to the mic! Rob Bates joins the ranks of Triple Zero winners at the AGS Circle of Distinction Awards.

The AGS Circle of Distinction Awards, held at the Plaza Hotel, included a Triple Zero Award for our very own senior editor Rob Bates! It was a pleasure to join our staff in a standing ovation for Rob after he received a warm introduction from new AGS president (and this issue’s Innovative Retailer) David Gardner. Rob has covered the diamond industry for 14 years at JCK, and prior to that at National Jeweler and the Rapaport Diamond Report. In addition to countless features and news articles, Rob writes the witty “Cutting Remarks” blog and is the winner of two Jesse H. Neal editorial awards. He is beloved in the industry for his knowledge, insights, approachable style, and sense of humor. Congrats, Rob. You make all of us at JCK stand just a little bit taller!

The other JCK name in industry news during jewelry week was Dave Bonaparte, senior vice president at JCK Events, who announced he’s leaving the JCK fold to follow in the footsteps of Matt Runci as president and CEO of Jewelers of America. The announcement had the entire industry talking. The decision is win-win, as Matt wraps up a very distinguished 17-year term at the helm of the organization, only to be replaced by one of the industry’s best-loved and most-respected executives.

I personally called Dave to let him know I’m there for him in any way I can be of help, and I’m sure everyone in the industry feels the same way. Dave has an exciting opportunity to take an already-respected organization and help it grow to even higher heights. Way to go, Dave!

This month’s industry highlights will include the annual September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair (I’m psyching up for that 16-hour flight) and the new SMART Show in Dallas. See you there!