As I’m writing this, I’ve been back from Las Vegas for only a few days, and I think I’m finally settling back into my regular routine. A week at JCK is not a soothing experience, and the fact that I barely ever make it outside seems to be the least of the craziness. But all in all, it was a week well spent!
Of course, the primary reason we attend is to meet with our customers — to share with them what’s new at Stuller. Just as important is to learn from them what’s new in their world, so we can better serve their needs. Interspersed with all of that were numerous educational sessions and industry updates.
Lab-grown diamonds are still one of the hottest topics. It’s something we are addressing in multiple ways here at Stuller:
The other aspect is the diligent effort we, along with the industry at large, are taking to ensure the integrity of the global diamond supply chain by thoroughly screening and detecting undisclosed lab-grown diamonds (ULGD’s). We’re undertaking many combative efforts in this regard, with more exciting news and updates to come.
I attended an industry-wide meeting about this the day before JCK opened, conducted a daily afternoon update at our booth for our customers, and participated in numerous conversations with a myriad of customers, competitors, and industry news organizations. What I’ve found is that the industry continues on its journey towards responsible sourcing, with the colored gemstones industry being the next hurdle to be tackled under the leadership of the Responsible Jewelry Council. Stuller is proud to be a member of the RJC, and we look forward to working with the industry to bring responsible and sustainable business practices to the entire industry supply pipeline.
The various industry organizations were also in full swing. From the Women’s Jewelry Association to the Diamond Empowerment Fund to Jewelers for Children, there was seemingly no end to the celebration of good works and opportunities to pick up market news and intelligence.
It all makes the old days of the summer JA New York show seem quaint. Back in the day, before the Javits Center, the summer JA New York show was THE industry buying event. Buyers floated between the Hilton on 6th Ave. & 52nd and the Sheraton a block away on 7th Ave. You could walk another block to the Carnegie Deli for lunch, though there always seemed to be a corned beef sandwich available for a customer at an exhibitor’s booth at the show.
We’ve evolved since then and come a long way as an industry since those days. Back then, the show was in New York because that’s where the jewelry industry was. Who could have imagined the geographical diversity we have today?
But that change in diversity is much more than geographical. Not only were there no female members of the 24 Karat Club of NY back then, women were not even welcome at the annual dinner in January.
Today I am proud to count Maren Rosen and Tammy Kidder among my talented co-workers. Maren is our Merchandising Vice President for Jewelry and Bridal, and a board member of the Women’s Jewelry Association. Tammy, our Merchandising Vice President for Findings, Fabricated Metals, and Tools, is an incoming member of the 24 Karat Club of the Southeastern US, as well as the Vice President of the Louisiana Jewelers Association.
We’ve come a long way, and the world continues to change. In order to stay current, we all have to adapt and change with the times. The next generation of professionals is here and it’s up to all of us to pass the knowledge, insights and even some of the traditions, all while learning along the way.
Speaking of lab-grown, check out this informative infographic detailing the basics of lab-grown diamonds.