It’s been a scorcher of a summer here in New York City, but a whirlwind of cool events—interesting conversations, trade shows, and more—has brought some much-needed relief.
First up was an invitation from Clark McEwen and Rebecca Foerster to attend the Rio Tinto Diamond Symposium in Chicago. The event was fascinating and quite luxurious. A highlight was Ken Gassman’s speech on why he’s convinced there will not be a double-dip recession and why the year ahead looks great for jewelry retail. From your lips to God’s ear, Ken!
The JA show here in New York brightened up the following week. I always enjoy the events surrounding the show and this year was no exception. Ruth Batson of the American Gem Society brought back the terrific Circle of Distinction dinner, now held in the grand ballroom of the Plaza Hotel. The entry to the ballroom is made of marble, and the room reverberated with the energy of industry friends.
The following night was one of my all-time favorite annual events: the Women’s Jewelry Association Awards for Excellence Dinner at the Chelsea Piers. JCK publishing and the JCK show were jointly honored with the Corporate Award for Excellence in recognition of our longtime support of women in the jewelry industry. I had the honor of giving an acceptance speech and was thrilled to be able to recognize the women who’ve made JCK magazine an institution, from past editors Peggy Jo Donahue and Hedda Schupak to our fantastic female team members today. As I said in my speech, I love that evening because the women in this industry rock!
Another treat from JA week was Terry Chandler’s gracious invitation to his annual Diamond Council of America media lunch. As many of you know, Terry is the consummate gentleman and he showed it this year with a tasting menu in the private dining room at Bouley. Wow, wow, wow. The DCA announced an exciting new affordable training program to help jewelry retail sales personnel thrive in their positions. The exciting news, phenomenal food, and great company made for a memorable afternoon.
Finally, Stuller’s Kerry Hand invited me to attend my first Stuller Solutions Symposium. It was a fascinating few days of presentations, breakout groups, and introductions to exciting new technology. The retailers who attended were clearly enthusiastic. It’s always great to meet people who love what they do. I was particularly happy to meet Dan Gordon of Samuel Gordon Jewelers in Oklahoma City—who we profiled last issue as a JCK Innovative Retailer. Dan has established himself at the forefront of using social media to benefit jewelry retail. The event ended with a great touch: As Matt Stuller finished his speech, the curtains surrounding the meeting area were pulled back to reveal the entire Stuller staff—from factory workers to execs—surrounding the attending retailers and giving them a warm round of applause.
Now it’s off to Cape Cod for a week-long vacation and then back to the trenches this fall. See you then!