Publisher’s Letter: March–April 2019

JCK publisher Mark SmelzerTalk about a travel whirl.

I’ve just finished a week in New York City; a week in Vicenza, Italy; and two trips to Arizona. Whew.

First up in January was the 24 Karat weekend in New York. That event and those that surround it are always the ideal kickoff to the year ahead after the holiday break. And this year was no exception.

I booked an extra day at the VicenzaOro show, as I’m not planning to attend Baselworld (for the first time in 15 years!), and I was glad I did. VicenzaOro was rocking with energy and people. It was great running into friends from around the world. I also rented an Airbnb in the center of town—which I highly recommend.

The two Arizona trips—for the late-January Centurion Show and February’s Tucson gem week—were also a blast. A special highlight was this year’s edition of the JCK Tucson show. If you’ve not been, the show has been curated to celebrate the intersection of artisanal design and finished jewelry. It has a true gem week feel, while also featuring beautiful finished product. And the annual Thursday-night party—with more than 700 RSVPs this year—was terrific.

The most wonderful part of this business is its people. Yes, folks say that about many industries. But I’ve been in a few—entertainment, publishing, digital advertising—and I know this one is unique. There was a moment at JCK Tucson, when I was on the balcony of the Starr Pass above the bar area in full swing, and I looked down to take in the full scope of so many friends, all chatting, catching up, laughing, and enjoying each other’s company. Wonderful.

mark and nikoBut the best people moment was ­meeting JCK editor-in-chief Victoria Gomelsky’s 12-week-old son, Niko. Vic and I tease that we are Mr. and Mrs. JCK, but we truly have spent a terrific amount of time together and have shared many of our lives’ ups and downs. Vic’s story of her path to parenthood is hers to tell, but I witnessed it all, and my own son, Nolen, came into the world in the middle of her journey. To finally meet her son was joyous.

Yes, the jewelry industry faces challenges. Store closings are brisk, social media is perplexing, and millennials are fickle. But at the same time, we have the Nikos and Nolens of the world, and life is pretty damn beautiful.

Top: a postcard-perfect view of the JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa; inset: my first meeting with Vic’s son, Niko (short for Nikolai)

(Smelzer photograph by Nicholas A. Prakas; Grooming: Claudia Andreatta/Halley Resources; Starr Pass: Courtesy Marriott)

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