My favorite moments of jewelry market week in Las Vegas are the unscripted ones—the chance encounters in the aisles of the show, the unscheduled run-ins at a lunchtime hot spot, the impromptu reunions on the dance floor. Every JCK show has its share of surprising get-togethers, but this year felt blessed with more than usual.
There was the press dinner I attended on Sunday night, June 3, just before OneRepublic performed at the Rocks the Beach party at Mandalay Bay. I’d been invited to the restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel by the guys behind 2(X)IST, the premium men’s underwear brand. They’ve partnered with award-winning product designer Jason Wilbur and are getting ready to launch their first brand extension into timepieces in the fall. The private dinner for 12 introduced us to Wilbur and gave us sneak peeks of the stylish new watch he’s got cooking.
I was seated next to a guy named Raj Rihal, a designer friend of Wilbur’s who’d come out from Los Angeles to lend his buddy moral support (at the blackjack table). Our talk, naturally, turned to watches. Raj wore a Nixon, the surfer-chic brand based in Encinitas, Calif. He said he was drawn to it because he’d grown up surfing in San Luis Obispo, on California’s central coast.
On Friday, June 1, I stopped by the JCK Rock Star display at Mandalay Bay to toast Walter Adler Chefitz on his win.
“Oh, I know someone from San Luis,” I said, knowing full well that the chances of Raj knowing my college buddy were infinitesimal. “Do you happen to know Mike Troy?”
Raj’s look was incredulous. “We grew up together,” he said, grinning.
The moment reminded me of how rewarding it can be to wander down a twisted path of conversation with someone only to discover that you share something—or someone—in common. That only happens when you’re willing to go with the flow—and usually just when you’re talking face to face.
Despite the advent of digital sourcing, our “Best in Show” cover feature celebrates the old-fashioned appeal of a traditional buying show, taking stock of the coolest, quirkiest, most compelling things we saw, people we met, and events we attended in Vegas.
Consider, for example, the “gold-growing” machine we spotlight in “Jewelry Supplies in Demand,” a review of the best new products we scoped at the Equipment, Technology & Supplies Pavilion at JCK Las Vegas. If you think 3-D wax printing is cool, you’re going to love the sci-fi fantasy-come-true that is the MLAB machine, produced by Concept Laser and distributed in the United States by the Romanoff International Supply Corp. in Amityville, N.Y.
Finally, our photo booth feature is back for the third year running. You’ll find snapshots of show attendees who wandered past our booth and were willing to offer a few comments on what they liked at the show. Check it out and you might even see a familiar face.
You really had to be there. But if you weren’t, this issue is the next best thing.