Happy September! I’m writing this month’s letter having just wrapped up a terrific jewelry week here in New York City. As always, it was four days and nights of great meetings, fun reunions with friends, and fabulous parties.
First up was the debut of the LUXURY Privé show in its new Waldorf Astoria Grand Ballroom location. The move was brilliant, as it allowed all the exhibitors to be together in a single room and increased the show’s energy all around. Plus, our industry has a special relationship with the Waldorf (the annual 24 Karat Club of the City of New York black-tie ball is held there every January), so in addition to the beautiful surroundings, delicious food, and excellent service, it felt like home.
Congratulations to JCK Events group vice president Yancy Weinrich on this smash hit—and to LUXURY Privé director Desiree Hanson. This year’s show was Des’ “baby,” and it truly reflected her upbeat personality, friendly demeanor, and professionalism. The opening night cocktail party, a ’70s-themed American Hustle disco, was not to be missed. Yours truly got into the spirit of things (as illustrated by the picture at right). Needless to say, an enjoyable time was had by all.
Here I am having a ’70s flashback (don’t you love the wigs?) with Omi Privé’s Manos Phoundoulakis and JCK’s Victoria Gomelsky.
Monday evening was the annual Women’s Jewelry Association Awards for Excellence dinner at Manhattan’s Chelsea Piers. Congrats to WJA President Andrea Hansen for this year’s edition, which honored the Richline Group, American Gem Society executive director and CEO Ruth Batson, and JCK alumnus Dave Bonaparte, president and CEO of Jewelers of America. The night’s Awards for Excellence included one to our own Desiree Hanson. She had quite the week!
Tuesday saw the annual American Gem Society Circle of Distinction dinner at The Plaza hotel. Kudos to Ruth Batson on this tremendous event, which honored industry favorites Lee Berg, CEO of Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry; Doug Hucker, CEO of the American Gem Trade Association; and Joel Schechter, CEO of Honora.
Before that evening’s festivities, I was invited to join a small industry luncheon hosted by Terry Chandler and the Diamond Council of America to launch a new DCA program, the Jewelry Career Readiness Initiative. Developed to help create qualified candidates for jewelry retail, the program uses DCA’s established training and education programs, but brings them to kids at the high school level.
We all know Terry to be shy and demure, so to learn he had secretly completed an entire yearlong pilot program at a Georgia high school—without breathing a word—was stunning. Hats off to Terry and the DCA for this wonderful idea. It will be exciting to watch the initiative unfold in the years ahead.
Finally, I want to say thank you to the many industry friends who’ve congratulated me in person and online for my recent wedding to my eight-year partner, Eric Fisher. I’m not so naive as to think our wedding isn’t controversial to some, so to be so overwhelmed with warm wishes has been amazing. It’s made me realize that an outpouring of love and congratulations from your friends and peers is a big part of what getting married is. It’s been a truly remarkable experience.
Next up are my annual September trips to Hong Kong and Stuller’s Bridge conference in Lafayette, La. See you there!