My First Time at the Dance…June 2012 Editor’s Letter

We all remember our first times—at JCK Las Vegas. Like the 10 retailers who gamely offered up their earliest Vegas memories to senior editor Emili Vesilind for our cover story on how to make the most of this year’s gathering (“Show & Tell 2012”), I thought I’d share a little story about my inaugural show experience.

It was 2000. I was 26 years old, living in New York City, and barely a month into my first job out of grad school. I’d been hired by, a long-since-defunct ­business-to-business website, to write about the pearl and watch markets, despite having no prior knowledge of the gem and jewelry industry, not even as a consumer. (Embarrassing but true: I had no idea what a cultured pearl was and could name only three watch brands off the top of my head—Rolex, Movado, and Kenneth Cole.)

In any event, I checked into my room at Treasure Island and tried not to panic when I glimpsed the size of the show at the Sands Convention Center. In a random twist of fate, one of my best friends, Jeannie, whom I’d known since we shared neighboring lockers in seventh grade, had been hired by a company called ­Gem­ and was also at the show. But instead of celebrating the cosmic fluke that had landed us both in Vegas, we felt more like rivals: GemConnect was one of GemKey’s biggest competitors.

A stress-free Jeannie and I post–JCK Las Vegas 2000

I won’t go into the details of how Jeannie and I resolved the tension that simmered between us, but suffice it to say that an endless night of dancing at Drai’s nightclub was instrumental. Since then, I haven’t let a JCK show pass without spending at least one night (but usually several) on the dance floor; as far as I’m concerned, there’s no better way to shake off the stress of a day at the show.

If roving the floor as an editor is tough, I can only imagine the anxiety that comes with being a buyer at JCK. To minimize the stress, we’ve packed this issue with stories about products—from silver (“Silver (Jewelry) Chic”), to tanzanite (“Blue Valentine: Tanzanite Turns 45”), to rubies (“Red Alert”)—designed to help you be a more informed, and thus more effective, buyer.

Once you’ve picked out the merchandise, don’t overlook the need to secure it. Read senior editor Rob Bates’ fascinating behind-the-scenes look at how law enforcement officials are trained in the jewelry biz (“School of Rocks”), and follow that with our piece on new security systems that focus on safety procedures much closer to home (“Safety Zone”).

Save one feature for last: “Hey Now, You’re a JCK Rock Star” profiles the winner of our first original video series, ?JCK Rock Star. If you’re at the show as you’re reading this, you’ve probably already watched the finale on JCK TV or seen the winner unveiled at the JCK Design Center’s JCK Rock Star display on June 1. If you’re not at the show, let the feature serve as a reminder that talented designers, like our winner, show their work at JCK Las Vegas—which is why it’s a can’t-miss event.

If, however, you’re still not convinced, consider the words of Martie Sparks, the Mandalay Bay exec who spoke to JCK about MGM Resorts’ out-of-the-box preparation for JCK Las Vegas (see “How Mandalay Bay Prepped for the 2012 JCK Show”): “We want to be the No. 1 convention center in the nation, and one of our goals is to go after the most prestigious shows out there,” she said. “JCK was targeted as one of the most prestigious, so we went after it.”

Amen—I’m proud to be a part of it. Looking forward to seeing you there!

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