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Zale’s Tales: JCK Las Vegas 2019 Wrap-Up

Stanley Zale shares his observations from this year's JCK trade show
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It was great being back at the Sands Expo Center. If my memory serves me right, it’s been since 2010 that the show was last there. It took about half a day to become re-acclimated, but after that, it was like being home. That is if your home is full clanging slot machines, throngs of people, and the need to walk about 13,000 steps per day just to get around.

“I was in Vegas for six days, but it felt like a month. Yet it also went by in a blur,” Stanley jokes.

 

JCK Las Vegas 2019 Group Shot

 

Here are a few observations while JCK Las Vegas 2019 is fresh in my mind.

 

Source Origin of Loose Stones

This trend has been moving at an accelerating pace toward critical mass. We’ve been hearing about blockchain platforms, mostly developed for specific channels, for a few years. Now we’re seeing these platforms go mainstream, which will enable nearly all industry players to offer diamond source verification to their customers.

Add to that the GIA’s new Diamond Origin Report, which confirms the country of origin of polished diamonds. The original rough diamonds and resulting polished diamonds are submitted to GIA for analysis so that they can be matched to each other and for origin confirmation based off the information provided by the mining company.

And then there’s what’s happening with gemstones. The Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) is adding gemstones to its Code of Practices (CoP). As the industry works through this, it will result in greater transparency of the gemstone supply chain.

GIA Melee Analysis Service Diamonds Scoop

Sustainability

Speaking of the RJC, several of us participated on a panel discussion about sustainability, compliance, and supply chain transparency. These issues are of increasing focus and concern for many in the jewelry industry. Some key staff from the Responsible Jewellery Council were at the show, lending their insights at various forums and helping all of us navigate through a rapidly changing environment. Their website offers lots of great information.

 

Lab-Grown Diamonds

Lab-grown diamonds had their largest presence yet at this year’s show.

Whether or not you embrace them as a product for your business does not change the fact we all must deal with them at some level. That includes adding them to one’s product offering or, just as importantly, safeguarding your business against the possibility of undisclosed lab-grown diamonds making their way into your inventory.

We had a lot of discussions with jewelers about screening and detecting for undisclosed lab-grown diamonds. The GIA is a great educational resource for all of that, as is Project Assure, the initiative by the Diamond Producers Association.

Some questions remain about FTC guidance in regards to how lab-grown diamonds are described and marketed. It’s a complex issue with nuance, and the Jewelers Vigilance Committee remains the go-to resource for these and many other issues.

Rapaport also weighed in on lab-grown diamonds and source transparency at his annual breakfast presentation, which was well-attended.

And through all the discussions about web platforms, compliance, sustainability, and the other issues of the day, it can be easy to forget why we gathered in the first place: all of the beautiful product!

Okay, everyone — back to work!

 

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