Though exhibitors’ observations on traffic were mixed, accounting for RX Events, producer of JCK Las Vegas, reveals that the number of attendees increased 8% over the 2022 edition. The Plumb Club Members’ reports on retailer sales to date this year were also mixed, though members claim that many in attendance were there to shop.
“Most [customers] said they would be thrilled to have another year like 2021 or 2022,” says Jonathan Goldman, CEO of Frederick Goldman. “But we had the right kind of traffic there for us. We had serious buyers and meaningful conversations.”
Some brands reported slight dips in retailer spending, but the flipside is that shoppers were strategic in selections to ensure better sell-through. “They were more thoughtful in their planning,” observes Kat Whitacre, U.S. sales and marketing director at Chic Pistachio, which maintains the Aurelie Gi and Ania Haie lines.
Matthew Behnam, president of Samuel B., agrees. “Retailers were working with their data to make smarter buying decisions. In the past, stores have come with little information about how certain categories were doing in store, but this year many showed up with reports. They knew which categories were slow and where they had gaps in inventory.”
For sure, lab-grown diamonds remain both a good seller and hot topic. Retailers are aware of fluctuating prices and want consumers to have confidence in their purchases, and they still do, particularly in the bridal category. Shoppers like getting a bigger diamond center stone in their engagement ring for less than they would spend on a mined diamond. This remains a familiar transaction for Goldman and his clients, as well as those of Goldstar Jewellery, which expanded its lab-grown wedding ring options, according to Steven Lerche, chief operating officer.
In the diamond fashion arena, IDD Luxe’s SkySet line of fashion-forward looks and a proprietary stone setting with lab-grown or mined diamonds was another highlight. “We picked up 16 new doors,” says Kendra Bridelle, president of the company’s new luxury division. (IDD is the seasoned parent company.)
Meanwhile, customers of Ostbye’s Theresa Namie, merchandise manager, were happy about the education offered on lab-growns at the show. “JCK had a lot of good programming, and the feedback was positive from the retailers,” she says.
One of Whitacre’s biggest takeaways touched on the travel industry: It’s back, and jewelry sales in holiday destinations were benefiting.
“Our stores in tourist areas are having the most success,” she says. “Consumers are spending more on travel now, and they’re buying more jewelry when doing so. People aren’t as concerned about spending when they’re on vacation.”
For Heather Brown, vice president of content and editorial for The Kingswood Company, a maker of jewelry cleaning products, she and her team delighted in the continuing popularity of private-label goods like hers. “Sophisticated retailers are finding success and value with a product exclusive to their brand,” she says. “Jewelry care cuts across almost any SKU, as every jewelry category requires at-home care between professional cleanings.”
For Behnam, some of his fave show moments happened not at his booth, but the nearby oxygen bar and massage chairs.
“The oxygen bar was cool!” he remarks. “It and the massage chairs offered us and clients a little chance to relax during the show. I made quite a few trips to both.”