Moving Images: Street-Style Photos From JCK Las Vegas 2016

Retailers, designers, exhibitors, and brand bigwigs share their personal Vegas stories and singular style

Photographs by Beverly Poppe


(Top) Think of The Art of Diamonds’ Naval Bhandari as the ultimate high-end gem personal shopper. “I look for the very best of the best [for clients],” explained the New York City–based buyer. “I advise them what to buy to enhance their holdings and their collections.” At the top of his list: important D-flawless type IIa diamonds. 


(Inset) Exhibitor Priyanka Murthy, designer of the Arya Esha collection (and a 2015 Rising Star), was excited to see “so many qualified buyers at the show.” Also, she added, “I love to come and socialize with friends in Vegas.”


“I design my own jewelry, and I’m here as the U.S. rep of a designer from Bali,” said Cynthia S. Woo of Cyn’s Diamond Bar in Richmond, Va. “It’s so cool to see people from all over the world and make new friends.”


Spokane, Wash.–based Will Payne has 42 years of jewelry experience under his gold belt. “I really love gems—I’ve got a garnet collection you wouldn’t believe,” says the cattle rancher and former bull rider (“I quit 10 years ago”). His favorite part of the biz? Simply put: “People.” 


Vendors and retailers Oren Shay and Zarah Grey of N.S. Diamond in Los Angeles came to find “unique designs,” Shay said. “We’re looking for new all the time—we need this business to kick back into gear!”


Brittany Nichols, owner of e-tailer House of B Jewels, was loving the new cash-and-carry JIS show at the Tropicana: “That show is really my speed—I get silver and lower-priced things for the younger girls.”


Brothers John and Jonathan Tran were shopping for their bridal-heavy mall-based Orlando, Fla., store, H&Q Jewelers. “LUXURY—that was amazing,” Jonathan said. “The organization, the type of jewelry.… It allows you to dream big.”


“I love Elite Enclave,” said exhibitor Wendy Brandes. “We have cocktails every day!” For her, JCK was largely about meeting retailers looking for special items. “When you have a client who collects frogs or elephants, that’s when you call me to make something cool.”


“We’ve spent the past nine months articulating our future as a brand,” said Paul Tacorian, whose Tacori had a California-centric exhibit at LUXURY. “Now we get to come to Las Vegas and share that with our partners.” 


“I’m here to buy!” declared five-time JCK attendee Jordan Hamann-Heiser of Sartor Hamann Jewelers in Lincoln, Neb. “I’m looking for colored stones, diamond fashion, pearls, new lines.”


Eliza Spell and Nick DeRosa, who own Nine Roses Jewelers in Richmond, Va., enjoyed the Design Center’s “wide range of styles,” DeRosa said. After hours, “we have fun bouncing around from casino to casino.… Eliza made a few bucks on the craps table!”


Though Kenwerks’ Kenneth Loo visits some 10 trade shows per year, this was his first JCK. “It was more complex than I thought it would be,” mused Loo, who helped debut Frederick Goldman’s TritonRaw line. 


Max Gems’ Suzanne Baulé was at JCK as an exhibitor and buyer for a gemstone sourcing company. “We specialize in tanzanite, but also do emeralds, rubies, sapphires. I’ve only been here two hours and already have met the coolest people from Bangkok, from New York, from all over. This is my first year in the business, and I’m so happy to be here!”


“I’ve been coming to JCK for 22 or 25 years,” said Jonathan Goodman Cohen, whose Newport, Ky., company, men’s jewelry specialist I.B. Goodman, was exhibiting in the Plumb Club. “It’s first and foremost an excellent opportunity to see a large breadth of the retail merchant community; we do a robust business here.”


Margaret Dunajewski of Qualigem Designs Ltd. in Concord, Ontario, had music on her mind: “I am looking forward to the beach party—I’ve gone every year since they started doing it. Maroon 5, OneRepublic—I love it.”


“I’m here to buy,” said Avi Arussi, whose Los Angeles store, Benjamin & Co., deals mainly in “medium and high-end” jewelry. “I love coming here each year: the weather, the atmosphere, the energy—it’s different than any other place.”

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