The Equipment, Technology & Supplies Pavilion at JCK Las Vegas proves there’s a lot more to jewelry than just jewels
Smart retailers know you can stock the most dazzling jewelry on the planet, but without top-of-the-line supplies, devices, and decor, your sales will never reach their true potential. Enter the Equipment, Technology & Supplies (ETS) show at JCK Las Vegas: an annual one-stop shop for jewelry retailers in the market for the latest and greatest in hardware, display elements, and bench tools. This year’s ETS Pavilion, which took over a spacious corner of the Mandalay Bay Convention Center on May 30–June 3, hosted 130 exhibitors showcasing everything from iPad-mountable microscopes to customizable CAD libraries. Here are some of the best products we saw on the show floor.
Best in Show at ETS
Every year there’s one booth at ETS that’s a veritable magnet for looky-loos. This year’s most buzzed-about booth was staffed by reps from a small company specializing in rapid prototyping.
B9Creation’s low-cost 3-D printer removes the price barrier associated with the technology. ($5,000 preassembled, $3,000 unassembled; b9creations.com)
B9Creations, based in Eugene, Ore., came to the show with a single product: a low-cost 3-D printer ($5,000 preassembled, $3,000 unassembled; b9creations.com) that uses a cherry-red liquid resin to create finely detailed molds ready for casting.
A table in the booth featured resin renditions of intricate filigree-style engagement rings, along with a selection of sci-fi figurines and artsy objects defined by hairpin-fine detailing.
The device responsible for the futuristic display is one of the first 3-D printers to hit the show floor. Last year, Amityville, N.Y.–based Romanoff International Supply Corp. showed its “gold growing” MLAB machine that whips atomized powdered alloys into jewelry pieces—using innovative “additive manufacturing” methods as opposed to traditional 3-D printing. Another key difference: B9Creations’ printer boasts an everyman price tag.
Capture images and annotate them with Kassoy’s Trinocular Microscope With Pro Tablet. ($3,295; kassoy.com)
“There has always been a price barrier in this [category] and now everyone can afford to own one,” says Gary Dawson, a jeweler who developed the B9Creations printer with capital raised on the crowd-funding website Kickstarter.
The printer’s proprietary resin, a light-activated photo polymer, was formulated to be cast once it’s rendered into an object. Inside the printer’s glass facade, molds are built layer by layer, and, once created, are “exactly like wax models,” says Dawson.
The startup company sold the few units it brought to Vegas and took orders from a handful of retailers, who added their names to a six- to eight-week waiting list. “The reaction has just been overwhelming,” notes Dawson. “We really plugged up the hallway on a few occasions.”
Best New Equipment at ETS
Indian manufacturer Solanki Mechanic Works exhibited for the first time at this year’s ETS show, bringing with it the CNC Diamond Cutting Machine ($120,000; solankimechanicworks.com), which fabricates and texturizes rings, bracelets, and bands using tools that rotate on nine distinct axes.
The Easy Melt 2 Induction Melter is a handy benchtop device. ($4,350; stuller.com)
Stuller introduced a wide array of new equipment this year, including the Easy Melt 2 Induction Melter ($4,350; stuller.com), a compact bench-top induction melter that features an LED display and easily turns platinum and stainless steel into goo. Also new for Stuller was the UltraCast ($13,500; stuller.com), a pressure-casting machine that can juggle the normal metals, along with hard-to-cast titanium. The device boasts a built-in compact water-cooling unit and is powered by induction heating technology.
Best New Technology at ETS
Bermark Designs Ltd. showcased its updated CAD database service (prices vary; home.bermark.com), which offers jewelers a low-cost online library from which to access designs.
The file service, which allows customization of its designs for as low as $60 a pop, now features an option for retailers looking to put their own branding on the pages of the database. “They can put their name on it and it’s faster and more easily customizable than it was last year,” says managing director Charles Berman. “We maintain that you shouldn’t buy CAD software, because it takes full-time practice to get good at it.” Bermark’s database features 8,000 styles to choose from, with 100 to 200 new looks added monthly.
Kassoy’s HD Camera Microscope connects to your laptop via USB, enabling the sharing of images. ($2,595; kassoy.com)
Alan Berner, purchasing manager for Kassoy, says the company’s new HD Camera Microscope ($2,595; kassoy.com) for gradings, demonstrations, and appraisals “is great because it gives you the capability with USB ports to link into laptops or monitors. If you’re on a computer with a buyer across the sea, you can show them what you’re looking at in real time.”
Kassoy’s other new proprietary scope, the Trinocular Microscope With Pro Tablet ($3,295; kassoy.com), offers prime viewing opportunities for customers and allows jewelers to take measurements and add annotations to captured images.
Best New Supplies at ETS
You don’t have to crane your neck anymore with Stuller’s Microscope Angle Adaptor for Acrobat Stand.($189.74; stuller.com)
Lighting 4 Diamonds returned this year with its Titan showcase fixture ($48 per foot; thejewelrylightingexperts.com), introduced last year, but slightly upgraded. “We’ve installed a higher-grade cree chip,” says general manager Vijay Paul. “Now the light is UL-listed, so it can be sold anywhere.”
Stuller’s new Microscope Angle Adaptor for Acrobat Stand ($189.74; stuller.com)—designed to replace the existing adapter without any special tools—offers increased versatility of motion, says Stuller’s director of tool sales Andy Kroungold. “You don’t have to crane your neck anymore.” Standing in Stuller’s packed booth, Kroungold characterized this year’s ETS show as—what else?—“Stuller-ific.”