Star Tech: Editor’s Letter, July–August 2014

If you asked me to choose one word to sum up this year’s jewelry week in Las Vegas, that would be easy: technology.

Whether it was wearable, like the smart jewelry we saw at the LUXURY show’s Shark Tank competition; experiential, like the virtual reality tour of the Diavik diamond mine that Rio Tinto offered showgoers willing to try on its Oculus Rift headset; or intangible, like the CAD software that seems to make further inroads into the industry every week, the technology that ruled Vegas was remarkable for the sheer fact that it was everywhere—and much of it is now considered mainstream.

Keep that in mind as you read “Best in Show,” our annual roundup of our favorite people, products, and encounters at JCK Las Vegas (including the above-mentioned Shark Tank and Oculus experiences). Technology, as you’ll see, was the show’s running theme.

Our JCK Las Vegas coverage continues with a look at the highlights of the show’s educational seminars (“Everything We Learned”). From concerns over the growing volume of synthetic diamonds entering the market to the myriad opportunities made possible by the democratization of 3-D printing, the specter of the high-tech world hovered over the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, imparting at least one key lesson: There’s no point in being a Luddite in the face of the coming onslaught of wired devices and digital innovations.

The Sense handheld scanner from CadBlu captured my 3-D image. My very own bobblehead coming soon!

To help nudge you along, senior editor Emili Vesilind tracked down the show’s most interesting tech products from a retailer perspective. Her snappy review of what she found in “Discover the Best New Technology” is the perfect recap of the Equipment, Technology & Supplies show if you didn’t have time to walk its aisles.

In one of my favorite Vegas traditions, the JCK Photo Booth returned for the fourth year in a row, resulting in dozens of cheerful portraits of showgoers, which you’ll find in “Photo Finish.” Thanks to our stellar photo editor Leah Rudolfo for coordinating the shoots, and to Emili and our new social media journalist Logan Sachon for capturing the pithy quotes that accompany the photos.

Mark and Eric greet one of their friends’ sons at Roxbury Barn.

By the time I left Vegas, I was so thoroughly inundated with technology that I even had a 3-D scan of my head to show for it! (Check out the Sense handheld scanner from CadBlu. When you hook it up to a 3-D printer, you can make your very own personalized bobblehead.)

It took me about a week to recover from Vegas, and then I was off again, this time to New York to attend JCK publisher Mark Smelzer’s wedding in Roxbury, a bucolic village in the western Catskills. It was one of the best weddings I’ve ever been to, and not just because I adore Mark’s husband, Eric (although that certainly helped). The beautiful barn where they were married had almost no Wi-Fi or cellphone reception, making it easy to unplug from the stresses of daily life.

So while I’m a big proponent of embracing technology, I’m the first to admit my nostalgia for the pre-smartphone, pre-GPS, pre-digital disruption days. Innovation is awesome—especially when you can take a break from it.

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