Springtime in Switzerland: Publisher’s Letter, May 2014

Welcome to the spectacular May preshow issue of JCK! All of us around here are getting very excited about the upcoming JCK show in Las Vegas. We hope this issue and the beautiful ads within are the source of inspiration for your week in Vegas.

I’m just back from my first Baselworld show in two years, and it was a fantastic time! I missed last year’s show, so this was my first view of the extraordinary new Herzog & de Meuron–designed main hall and the restaurants and pavilions beneath it. As always, seeing friends from around the world was a blast, and the nightly beer fests outside hall 1 were lively and packed. Sharing a beer with our McMurry/TMG colleagues Tracie McLaughlin, Heidi Bressler, and Marisa ­Zappaterreno from The Ritz-Carlton Magazine was a highlight!

Evenings are always fun during the show, and the warm weather (70 degrees) made strolling Basel’s charming Old Town delightful. Saturday evening was a JCK “family” dinner at Picobello with colleagues Victoria Gomelsky, Mirek ­Kraczkowski, Quentin Chan, Bill Furman, and “extended family” members ­Debbie Yonick and Alissa Goren (more on Alissa below). We were also joined by Peter Thum, a friend of Vic’s and the fascinating founder of both Ethos Water and Fonderie 47, a brand that turns assault rifles into jewelry, watches, and accessories. Picobello is a Basel mainstay and packed with jewelry industry friends from around the world nightly. It was great running into Eddie LeVian and his son Jonathan as well as the team from GIA.

My dinner-mates Jonathan LeVian, Alissa Goren, Debbie Yonick, Peter Thum, Victoria Gomelsky, and Eddie LeVian. Good times!

On Sunday night, Vic and I worked the party circuit. We began the evening at our friend Anders Modig’s independent watchmaker party. Anders is the former editor of Plaza Watch magazine, and clearly is uber-connected to the artisanal side of the watch biz. The event—held in an old brewery—was packed with enough beards, cuffed jeans, and heavy-rimmed glasses to make me feel I was right back in Brooklyn.

Next up was Mark and Candy Udell’s London Jewelers party in Baselworld Village. We ran into Yancy Weinrich, John Tierney, and Shelly Hill from the JCK Events team there and were flattered when Mark joined our group to get our pulse on the show and the business. Many thanks to Mark and Candy for their hospitality. 

This year also saw the debut of the new Jewellery & Gem Fair, held in the messe of the charming German town of Freiburg. Freiburg is a university town and was largely spared in the war (meaning it has lots of antique buildings, a rarity in Germany). It’s set in the “German Tuscany,” a beautiful area of foothills, vineyards, and distant peaks. If you make it to Freiburg next year, be sure to stay for dinner at the Hausbrauerei Feierling beer hall in the center of the historic town (as we did with our Reed Exhibitions colleague Caroline Spönemann). Terrific house-made beer with sausages and sauerkraut.

My only regret for the week was not having had time to visit The Diamond Show, which my dear friend Alissa Goren organized. Held in the iconic Markthalle venue near the Basel banhof, the show was, by all accounts, a smashing success. Next year, I promise!

Next up for me is a quick trip to Chicago for the Smart Show, the American Gem Society Conclave in San Diego, and then that wonderful week in the desert: JCK. See you in Vegas!