The Miami Beach Convention Center wasn’t entirely finished; small construction projects were still ongoing. But the sprawling venue, wrapping up a full renovation after incurring major damage during the 2017 hurricane season, proved an elegant backdrop to the Jewelers International Showcase October show from Oct. 19 to 22.
It wasn’t just the setting—or even the intoxicating new-carpet smell!—that made the fair feel decidedly elevated. The debut of JIS’ partnership with the Centurion South Beach show brought in nearly 100 high-end brands new to JIS. That also made the show larger: There were 30 percent more vendors in 2018 than in 2017, according to organizer Reed Exhibitions.
Then again, everything about the 103,000-square-foot show felt vaguely supersized. The Italian pavilion was 50 percent larger, and the Sterling Silver and Affordable Fashion categories splintered into two separate pavilions because they’d added so many vendors. Additionally, the Equipment, Technology, and Services vendors were gathered into JIS’ first-ever ETS pavilion (much like the one at JCK Las Vegas).
Trends included chunky chains (Cristina Sabatini offered hefty silver curb-link versions); carved and smooth beads (Bounkit used them artfully in colorful earrings and necklaces); and delicate stacking pieces, from diamond tennis bracelets (found in spades at Facet Barcelona) to gemstone rings (Italy’s Brosway had trays of them).
Attendance was up by 18 percent from October 2017, according to Jordan Tuchband, industry vice president of JIS, who attributes the growth in part to its timing on the international jewelry buying schedule. In short, as buying becomes more immediate for jewelry retailers, JIS’ preholiday slot becomes a more alluring option.
Still, the show’s vetting process for retailers, Tuchband adds, is fairly rigid. “We’ve always had a quality-over-quantity attitude toward attendance. You may not have shoulder-to-shoulder nightclub aisles, but you can be relatively confident the people walking those aisles are there to do business.”
Convertible rose quartz and garnet earrings in 14k gold–plated brass; $395; Bounkit; 212-244-1877; bounkit.com