Jewelers from Latin America, the Caribbean, and the United States converged on Miami in October for the final big trade show of the year – the Jewelers International Showcase (JIS). The show, staged at the Miami Convention Center, provided retailers one last opportunity to get ready for the all-important Christmas season.

This year, JIS set records for both the number of exhibitors (900) and the number of attendees (around 8,000). Michael G. Breslow, president, says, “Without question, this is the most successful edition of the 20 years of the show.”

Every jewelry category was represented, with diamond jewelry dominant. Exhibitors also offered loose colored stones and diamonds, as well as freshwater and cultured pearls, opal, amber, beads, cubic zirconia, gold designer jewelry in 18k and 14k, watches, and silver from Mexico and Italy. Reflecting this year’s white trend, some companies introduced new lines in platinum, a metal still not popular in Latin America but begining to catch on in the Caribbean. The wide variety of merchandise – enough to satisfy the needs of three distinct markets – was striking.

Jewelers from Santo Domingo, Venezuela, Bolivia, and Mexico were especially keen on neckwires with small ball pendants, nylon wires with small charms, and two- or three-color gold pieces combining matte and polished finishes. Jewelers from the islands, on the other hand, say that diamonds and tanzanite are the best-selling items in their markets.

The number of Asian exhibitors at JIS has expanded tremendously, says Breslow. Hong Kong doubled its representation to around 60 companies, and, for the first time ever, the show featured a Thailand pavilion.

Already popular in Latin America and the Caribean and well-known among Florida jewelers, JIS is becoming a magnet for international participation as well. Breslow attributes the show’s success to its location and the fact that it’s a delivery show. “Buyers like to see that they get what they have paid for, and also the location is very convenient for both markets.” Caribbean islanders find it easier to travel to Miami than to other Caribbean islands, and Latin Americans appreciate Miami’s large Latino community and its multilingual ambiance.

In addition, JIS provides a painless path into the Latin American market, an attraction for many jewelers. The show allows manufacturers to reach that market and avoid the barriers that Latin American shows traditionally put in their way.

Although many exhibitors reported good business, the ones located at the rear of the show floor complained of light traffic.

JIS’s next edition will take place Jan. 16-18, also at the Miami Convention Center. Call (561) 998-0205, fax (561) 998-0209, or visit – Teresa Andres


Sissy Jones, founder and chief executive officer of Sissy’s Log Cabin Inc., the largest independent jewelry store in Arkansas, will be the keynote speaker at JCK’s 1999 Orlando Show. Jones will speak on Sunday, Feb. 7, at the Orange County Convention Center.

Jones began her business almost 30 years ago in Pine Bluff, Ark., in a small log cabin with a single handing bulb and small space heater. She started out appraising and selling antiques. Today, her store is a three-building complex of more than 12,000 sq. ft. and houses jewelry, china, crystal, and silver as well as antique and estate furniture. It employs eight full-time goldsmiths and designers, a lapidary, and a master watchmaker. Jones has been named one of the top 100 women in Arkansas every year from 1994 through 1998 by Arkansas Business magazine. In 1994, Sissy’s Log Cabin was added to the Arkansas Parks and Tourism historical tour. In 1996, the company was named Arkansas Business of the Year.


Responding to high demand for space in its Las Vegas Gem Show, the Gem and Lapidary Dealers Association is adding a special showroom in the second largest ballroom at the Mirage Hotel. The room, the Mirage Ballroom, will be reserved for companies offering unusual or one-of-a-kind merchandise and special international exhibit groups.

The section reserved for companies will include a designer jewelry area, called “Future Vision,” and a gem-cutters’ area, called “Cutters Row.”

Companies wishing to apply should submit a detailed listing of their merchandise, including photos, articles, and the names of awards they have received. Photos of the company’s overall booth design from other shows are also requested.

For more information, contact GLDA, P.O. Box 2391, Tucson, AZ 85702; (520) 792-9431, fax (520) 882-2836,