From the Publisher, November–December 2019: Happy Holidays

JCK publisher Mark SmelzerGreetings from my flight home from Los Angeles after my yearly October tour of Southern California!

As in years past, I came west to attend the annual GIA Jewelry Career Fair in Carlsbad. After a couple of years’ hiatus, I was asked again to moderate the “Creative Careers” panel. The event—which featured Baba ­Blumkin, CEO of Luxe Jewelry and Loan; Wade Clar Jr., director of brand ­development at Julez Bryant; goldsmith and designer Alexandra Hart; Jenny Luker, president of Platinum Guild International USA; and Tiffany Stevens, CEO and general counsel at the Jewelers ­Vigilance Committee—was phenomenal.

As always, panelists were selected based on their nontraditional paths in the jewelry industry. After they described their jobs, I asked them about attending events, networking, volunteering for boards and committees, and mentoring. As you can imagine, all these activities have played a huge role in each panelist’s career. And listening to them reminded me of just how much I gain in terms of friendships, support, and even business success by pursuing these kinds of activities. If you are one of the rare people in our business who doesn’t join in and give back, start doing so today!

The next evening was reserved for the Jewelers 24 Karat Club of Southern ­California black-tie gala, a long-standing annual event honoring leaders in our business (and providing a great opportunity to network with friends). This year’s event recognized three honorees beloved by the industry: Ruben Bindra, founder and president of B&B Fine Gems; Terry Chandler, president and CEO of Diamond Council of America; and Bill Jones, CEO of Sissy’s Log Cabin. Congrats to you all!

I was lucky enough to cap off the visit with a stay at the home of JCK editor-in-chief Victoria Gomelsky, her partner, Jim ­Sullivan, and their 1-year-old son, Niko. It was a gathering of family and friends, including three generations of the Gomelsky clan. The evening was another reminder of the friendships this industry has brought into my life and how lucky I am to be a part of it.

As 2019 comes to a close, we look ­forward to a new digital-first JCK in the years ahead. We’ll still publish our four most ­popular print issues—March, May, June, and ­September—while we focus on growing our Instagram following (up from 20,000 to 37,000 in the last year alone); building our amazing podcast, “The Jewelry District”; introducing a how-to series of webinars; and delivering the most important stories in our JCK News Daily newsletter.

Happy New Year!

Top: Sunny Beverly Hills, Calif., where the 24 Karat Club gathered for its gala

(Smelzer photograph by Nicholas A. Prakas; grooming: Claudia Andreatta/Halley Resources; Rodeo Drive: Hisham Ibrahim/Photo Library/Getty)

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