September 19, 2012

JCK Las Vegas 2012 review

The newest collections and product lines pushed the boundaries of innovation and ingenuity at this year's JCK Las Vegas jewellery and watch show
By E.Z. Guler-Tuck

Viva all things colourful, bright and shiny—especially Las Vegas! The opening of the LUXURY booths on May 29 kicked off this year’s JCK Las Vegas Show*, and all the watch and jewellery brands were out strutting their stuff. This year’s show saw the newest collections and product lines from more than 2,500 eager exhibitors that pushed the boundaries of innovation and ingenuity in jewellery and watch design. The record-breaking 21 per cent increase in show attendance was evidence that through economic ups and downs, luxury has prevailed.
In addition to Pamela Anderson and Brooke Burke, Canadian Natalie Glebova—former Miss Universe—joined the roster of celebrity brand ambassadors, as she represented Canadian Ice diamonds with style and class.

A legacy
Bringing Armenian jewellers from all around the world together, the Armenian Jewellers Association (AJA), with a strong Canadian constituent, continued a tradition of their own, with an Armenian pavilion at JCK for the second year in a row, and their fifth annual cocktail reception.

Material girl
While retailers swear by “location, location, location,” the fearless designers at this year’s
JCK propagated “material, material, material.” A rave of rhodium plating and the incorporation of a selection of nature-inspired motifs such as shells, animal prints, bamboo and feathers, as well as Italian rubber, bakelite (an early form of plastic) and blackened sterling silver were prevalent.

“During the process of creating my latest collections, I wanted to feel connected with
something that was earth-bound, and evocative of volcanic ash and lava solidification, as
well as the ancient ruins of my native Rome. The blackened sterling silver inspired that
connection for me,” says Emanuela Duca, designer of Emanuela Duca New York.

One-of-a-kind handcrafted mixtures of materials broke down taboos in jewellery-making, where steel mingled with silver, whites mingled with rose gold, and precious gemstones
were thrown in for colour and spice.

In addition to materials, texture also played a starring role in design this year. The sleek, smooth feel of jewellery, and especially watches, was replaced by three-dimensional, faceted surfaces, a highlight of one of PANDORA’s new collections.

Colour me yellow
Speaking of colour, this year’s show was definitely colour-coded, flaunting a kaleidoscope of
precious gemstones from all around the world, set into a luxurious load of gold, silver and even steel collections.

In addition to topaz, garnet, amethyst, peridot and tourmaline, it was yellow gemstones that stole the show. Especially in diamonds, yellow stood out as the colour of the year.

Yellow was also prevalent in gold, evidence that regardless of price, the sense of security
attached to this trusted precious metal will outlast the market fluctuations and resonate with the industry in a big way.

Watch it
While the watch trend continued to boast the “bigger is better” theme, some women’s collections reverted back to simpler and subtler, yet powerful statement pieces.

“The Linea collection is the perfect balance of style and femininity, with its delicate silhouette
that hugs the wrist, to the interchangeable straps which allow for a true fashion statement,” says Michelle Peranteau, director of marketing & communications at Baume & Mercier.

Innovation in watch design was best demonstrated on the show floor with a mishmash of vintage to classic, bullet-proof to digital, all differentiating their brands in unique ways.

“We think there’s the potential to take "touch and display" technology and combine it into, not a smart watch, but a smarter digital watch,” says Donald Brewer, president of Phosphor watches.

Emerging markets power up
To demonstrate their prowess in the global jewellery market, China (specifically Hong
Kong), India and Brazil dazzled visitors with their own four C’s: colour, craftsmanship,
creativity and culture.

Hong Kong’s fancy banner directed showgoers to the rows upon rows of stone-studded booths all representing eclectic designs from one of China’s most fiscally superior regions.

A festival of jewellery was displayed in the India Gallery and a special “by invitation-only” evening with traditional folk dances and a fashion show was held. “[India has become]
the force behind the very top end. We come up with some of the most trend-setting and sought after designs today,” explains Raksha Manihar of The Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council of India.

Brazil proudly served up precious creations abounding with coloured gemstones, delicious
food and, of course, a tropical feel completely unique to the region.

Old and new
Rather than reinventing the wheel, New York-based Le Vian recreated a vintage bridal
collection in an irresistable campaign inspired by chocolate and diamonds.

“One of the biggest trends we’re seeing is that women, when they get married, want to
get married with an engagement ring that’s different than what other women have. So, we
are forecasting the Chocolate Wedding as the big trend in fine jewellery,” explains Eddie Le
Vian, CEO, director and designer for Le Vian.

The last word
When the final day of the show rolled around, after all the hands had been shaken, booths
visited and parties attended, the strong relationships that were nurtured, new ones built
and the promise of many more great stories to appear within these pages made this year’s JCK Las Vegas one for the books. 

*The JCK Las Vegas show is the jewellery and watch industry's main event. This annual trade show gathers international, mostly North American, jewellery and watch exhibitors, buyers and the public together under one glitzy and glamorous roof.

*This article was originally published in the August 2012 issue of Canadian Jeweller magazine.

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