Year Five of the Jewelers’ Choice Awards!

It’s amazing, but this year marks the fifth anniversary of our JCK Jewelers’ Choice Awards, the industry’s premier design awards voted on exclusively by retailers.

This year’s awards have some exciting new aspects, including a larger, glossier “Best of the Best” supplement due out next April (featuring all the award winners), a dedicated online gallery of the winning pieces, and an expanded public relations push next spring.

But before we can execute on all that, we need you, the retailer, to vote! Please take a moment today to peruse the 2011 Voters’ Guide poly-bagged with this issue of JCK. Then, please log on to to vote on all your favorite pieces. We received more than 16,000 votes last year. This year, let your voice be heard, too!

September was an amazingly busy month here at JCK (those New York summers lull you into thinking you don’t have to work that hard…then September hits). We have spent hours brainstorming on exciting projects for 2012, including an editorial calendar that will truly be one of our best.

Meanwhile, we are extremely flattered that the business-to-business publishing world continues to recognize JCK with exciting awards. Our two most recent wins were from the publishing trade magazine min, which awarded JCK with Best B2B Custom Publishing (for our overall remake of JCK and and Best Lead Generation Program (for our Flawless Club added-value program). And we just found out we’ve been nominated for four awards by the publishing trade magazine Folio: an Ozzie for design and three Eddies for editorial. The recognition feels great.

Top: Mark Smelzer in Hong Kong with Quentin Chan and Mirek Kraczkowski, JCK‘s regional sales managers; bottom: Cantonese cuisine doesn’t get better than this.

September was also a big travel month for me, with an annual week at the Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair. Every year, it seems more American manufacturers attend this megashow, whether to exhibit or just to check out the scene. It was a pleasure to see friends from around the world and enjoy the high-voltage energy of that exciting city.

Not that I needed another project to add to my list, but I’m also excited to announce that I’ve decided to pursue my Accredited Jewelry Professional (AJP) degree from the GIA. After years of seeing our friends from the GIA present their educational programs at trade shows around the world, I finally decided to jump in myself and pursue some gemological education. I’m taking three courses (Diamond Essentials, Colored Stone Essentials, and Jewelry Essentials) through its online education program, and I highly recommend it! The programs are beautifully designed, with a nice mix of text, video, slide shows, and extra tidbits to keep you engaged and learning. I already know the difference between hue, tone, and saturation in diamond color (the latter two determine the stone’s depth), and I can’t wait to learn more.

October always includes a week in California for GIA’s Career Fair, the 24 Karat Club of Southern California black-tie dinner, and some time on downtown L.A.’s Hill Street. I look forward to seeing our West Coast friends there!

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