Zale’s Tales: JCK Las Vegas 2018
As I write this, I’m still recovering from JCK. It’s amazing how in a week’s time we can go from feeling excited about the upcoming show to wanting nothing more than to get out of Vegas and head home. Besides the primary mission of seeing our customers, there was a lot of activity regarding some issues that are critical to our industry. Among those are:
1. Blockchain Technology
This seems to be everywhere these days, and JCK 2018 was no exception. Very simply put, Blockchain is nothing more than a web-based utility that allows for the secure storage and transfer of data. There are a variety of Blockchain initiatives swirling around the industry, some initiated from the supply and manufacturing side, another from the customer-facing side, and even initiatives in the midstream. But what does this all mean for the independent jeweler, whether traditional brick and mortar, web-based, or Omni-channel? Not a lot so far. It’s a new game, but the world is quickly adapting.
As it was explained to me, Blockchain is nothing more than a new internet protocol, which in a few years will be as ubiquitous as HTTP and SMTP, and none of us will need to know how it functions; it will just be! In the immediate term, we need to allow the various Blockchain developers to bring their initiatives further along to the point of easy adoption. At the end of the day, the benefit will be better transparency of the industry supply chain, which will serve to validate responsible sourcing protocols. And that is the underlying problem that utilizing Blockchain will help solve.
2. Screening for Undisclosed Lab Grown Diamonds (ULGDs)
This is a big topic, as it sits at the heart of consumer confidence. Along with my colleague Harold Dupuy, it seemed as though every time we turned around there was someone else with another screening device. Harold offers some great insight; all the instruments out there, for the most part, use one or some combination of the following six existing technologies:
1. UV Transparency vs Opacity
2. Infrared absorption spectroscopy (FTIR)
3. NIR absorption spectroscopy (UV-Vis)
4. Laser photoluminescence spectroscopy (PL)
5. Phosphorescence & decay speed
6. Fluorescence spectroscopy
To remain vigilant, Stuller has implemented the following advanced instruments into our QA process: IIDGR’s new AMS2, GIA’s iD100, and Raman, UV-Vis, and FTIR spectrometers. We’ve also welcomed GIA to Stuller to conduct independent melee analysis services.
Farewell, JCK Las Vegas 2018
At the end of the day, this is an industry of relationships, and what I value most about JCK is seeing old friends. Whether it was having morning coffee with someone I learned diamond sawing with (longer ago than I want to admit), attending seminars with a former colleague, or having dinner with my daughter Olivia — the fifth generation of our family in the jewelry business — it’s all about the people!
Oh, by the way…did anyone else hear a rumor that De Beers is now selling lab-grown diamonds? Okay, okay. I know that’s what everyone wants to hear about. Wait, what’s that? I’ve already exceeded my word allocation for this blog entry?
Sorry, I guess Lightbox will have to wait for another time.