What Happened in Vegas

When I attended my first JCK show in 2000, as a fledgling editor for a long-since-defunct jewelry trade website called GemKey (where I wrote about the pearl and watch markets), I stayed at Treasure Island, ate at the food court in the then–1-year-old Venetian Hotel, and partied the night away at Drai’s with one of my childhood friends, ­Jeannie, a marketing whiz who had, by chance, landed a job with an equally short-lived competitor called GemConnect. What a difference a decade makes. Since the heady days of 2000, not only has Las Vegas evolved into a stylish, cosmopolitan city on par with the world’s greatest resort destinations, the industry has matured and, well, so have I. If you had told me then what I know now, I would have been incredulous: that the dot-bomb of the early Aughties would obliterate both mine and Jeannie’s B2B jobs; that I would return to Las Vegas—and the

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