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JCK Las Vegas, LUXURY and JIS Exchange Glistened During a Sweltering Week in the Desert

Going out with the heat, JCK Las Vegas concluded its 26th edition on Monday, June 6. The show welcomed the best of the best in the jewelry industry with over 2,400 exhibiting brands and manufacturers, as well as an abundant lineup of industry networking opportunities and informative panel discussions. Highlights from the show include a newly designed show floor, complete with product "Neighborhoods" for easy shopping; a reorganized Design Center, with additional new talent of aspiring design students alongside 21 Rising Stars; and an undeniable focus on lifestyle, the future of retail, and merchandising educational content.

"Today's economic malaise can best be battled by experiencing all that this show has to offer." Bruce Audley of Beverly Hills Jewellers MFG stated. "More than simply North America's largest assembly of the world's very best wholesale jewelry companies, this is an invaluable opportunity to learn new skills, from how to make social media work for you, to the proper way to greet customers. There has never been a more important time to coalesce with suppliers and fellow jewelers and— this show has that and more."

For LUXURY, JCK's premier high-end event, the yearly pilgrimage to the desert began Tuesday, May 31 with a 3-day, invite-only event for qualified buyers. The show boasted an impressive lineup of 250 elite brands including an additional new ballroom space filled with Prestige and the new LUXURY Watch. LUXURY welcomed more retail stores and buyers than years past and additional hosted buyers through LUXURY and JCK.

Thousands were in attendance on Thursday, June 2, a day prior to the JCK show floor opening, with JCK Talks being first on their agenda. 'The Talks', JCK's education component began with an important keynote – included eighteen informative discussions including the much discussed panel: Lab-Grown Diamonds: Threat or Opportunity (or Both?) where standing room only crowds listened intently as panelists: Stanley Zale, Vice President of Diamonds & Gemstones, Stuller; Jack Gabriel, CEO, Gabriel & Co.; Maarten de Witte, Master Diamond Cutter, Diamond Foundry; Dr. James Shigley, Research Fellow, GIA; and Jean-Marc Lieberherr, CEO, Diamond Producers Association debated over what jewelers need to know to make informed decisions in their buying and selling activities. Other session highlights included LGBT Community: How to Merchandise and Market your Store to Attract New Customers and Sustainability and Responsible Sourcing.

On Friday, June 3, JCK opened its doors to reveal a brand new layout and entrance that guided buyers according to "Neighborhoods" of similar product groupings. The layout changes were not the only differences to be seen. JCK's objective in creating a dynamic show experience with more opportunities to learn, network, and get inspired was realized in the plethora of supplemental events taking place. A breakfast held by the Plumb Club brought in the authority on millennials, Jason Dorsey to speak on Understanding and Selling to Gen Y and Millennials. This education session, sponsored by Jewelers Unblocked, provided attendees with step-by-step actions to rely on to drive sales, enhance communication, create engagement and more.

Many of the special events were held with a fashion-intensive tone. In a nod to the runway shows typical seen during fashion market weeks, the newly created Showcase Stage played host to numerous merchandising events, panel discussions, competitions, and talks throughout the long weekend. These events were presided over, in large part, by the many members of the styling and editorial communities who were present at the show this year. These important influencers included costume designers Lyn Paolo, Lauren Bott, and Ann Foley; bloggers Liza Urla of Gemologue, Stacy Stahl of How He Asked, and Syl Tang of The Hip Guide; Editors: Shannon Adducci of Billboard Magazine, Sari Tuschman of The Zoe Report, and Jillian Magenheim of OliviaPalermo.com. Other events featured artists Angie Crabtree and Hannah Becker of Diamond Doodles, whose work has captured the hearts of jewelry enthusiasts en masse over the past year through their well-followed Instagram feeds.

In true JCK form, the Show was intent on celebrating the talents of the industry with numerous award ceremonies taking place including, the Design Center's Top 50 Retailers of the Year (top honors went to Quadrum Gallery), The Editor's Choice Awards (Kickstarter recipient, Vicky Lew London; Rising Star recipient, Doryn Wallach; and Resident Designer recipient, Deeta Thakural) and the Think Tank Award for technology (first place went to Holojem – Jewelers Mutual Insurance in collaboration with Excelion IT ). The entire industry was feted under the cover of night, sand, and heat at the inimitable Rocks the Beach party, headlined by Train. Despite record-breaking heat that lasted well beyond dusk, the evening was a vibrant and memorable send-off from a great show. JCK's exhibitors echoed in agreement of the success 2016 brought to their business:

Mercury Ring's Vice President Phyllis Bergman stated, "JCK Las Vegas really exceeded our company's expectations. Despite market conditions and a new location, we were extremely busy. We met with current clients, opened new accounts and visited with industry leaders from all over the world. The mood was definitely upbeat evidenced at countless special events and networking opportunities both on and off the show floor. The JCK show remains the most important event for our business during the calendar year!"

"This year's JCK Show was a turning point for us," says Stuller Founder and CEO, Matt Stuller. "For the first time, in a long time, we were all together in one booth showcasing everything we have to offer to help the retail jeweler be successful from bridal jewelry to findings to customization solutions. And I think our customers appreciated the convenient, easy shopping experience."

"For our first time exhibiting at JCK Las Vegas, the least we could say is that it exceeded our expectations." Melissa Boussou, of Rosefield Watches explained. "JCK Las Vegas has truly become a must-attend event for us and the response to our collections was great. The organization was flawless and the quality of traffic allowed us to open new doors in one of our most important markets."

The show welcomed 35,616 industry professionals in totality which included an increase in LUXURY independent retail storefront attendance. The highly anticipated launch of sister show JIS Exchange was a success with 4,581 buyers shopping the new Tropicana destination where 100 exhibitors were showing fashion and fine jewelry available for immediate delivery. Despite jewelry market conditions overall JCK had 22,300 buyers and 9,000 storefronts in attendance, and early indications show buying was strong by those who attended.