Meet the Power Brokers: Editor’s Letter, April 2014

If you had to rank the world’s most powerful cities, Hong Kong would be a serious contender for No. 1. Like New York, it is a hub of money, the financial engine that makes Asia go round. Like Mumbai or Mexico City, it teems with humanity. Like London, it is home to architecture that reflects the colonial influence of Old Britannia. In Hong Kong, power is both old and new, and utterly palpable.

I was reminded of all these things in early March, when I attended the 31st edition of the Hong Kong International Jewellery Show, the largest spring ­jewelry platform on the planet. It was there that I saw Kent Wong, managing director of Chow Tai Fook, the world’s largest jeweler (though not for long—see “10 Things Rocking the Industry” item No. 3 for an update), formally announce the company’s agreement with Aaron Shum Jewelry to be the exclusive distributor of Shum’s Coronet diamond jewelry collection in Hong Kong, Macau, and mainland China.

The event drew dozens of local journalists—for good reason. Chow Tai Fook is as ubiquitous in the Far East as Starbucks is in the United States. That’s why Mr. Wong’s boss, executive chairman Henry Cheng, appears for the third time on our annual Power Base list (A–J, K–Z), a rundown of the influencers shaping the global jewelry trade.

Hong Kong is the Platonic ideal of a powerful city: big, crowded, and teeming with money.

This issue’s second big focus is men, in all their sporty, dressy, accessory-loving glory. With the men’s category finally earning attention from savvy retailers like Puerto Rico’s Marie Helene Morrow, guys in search of a little sartorial style have lots of good shopping to look forward to. Check out “How Jewelers Can Tap Into the Booming Men’s Lifestyle Market” and our still life photography feature (“Jewelry for Your Guys Only”) to see the intriguing directions this once-boring category is heading in.

Greg Sorensen
Here’s Lance, the man responsible for how good our magazine looks, trying on the merch at our April cover shoot.

JCK’s uber-talented senior art director Lance Pettiford certainly is a believer. He attends all of our cover shoots and patiently awaited the April men’s-related shoot so he could raid the merchandise, which more than passed muster. (In the process, we realized Lance missed his calling. Derek Zoolander has nothing on him!) Kudos to our new photo editor Leah Rudolfo for her fabulous work on the photo spreads and for helping Lance give the camera his best.

Rounding out April, we once again shine the spotlight on Las Vegas, where we expect to see all of you—okay, most of you—at the JCK show in late May–early June. In “JCK Las Vegas 2014 Special: Cool New Restaurant and Nightlife Options,” contributor Megan Hayes rounded up the best dining, nightlife, and entertainment options to come to the southern end of the strip in 2014. So we’ve done the hard work for you—all you have to worry about is the fun.

Which brings me back to Hong Kong. After an 11-year hiatus from the March show, I’d forgotten how cool it is to see the city from the perspective of its spectacular convention center, which is perched on the water in Wan Chai. Having JCK publisher Mark Smelzer there as my cohort was the cherry on top. Even the fog that blanketed the harbor and obscured the skyscrapers during my week in Hong Kong couldn’t put a damper on my mood. Talk about power!

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