May 30th, 2009–Apples of Gold heads to Las Vegas for the annual JCK Las Vegas Jewelry Show–considered the largest and most prevalent fine jewelry exhibition in the world, with a global outreach that far surpasses any convention of its type. It simply has to be seen to be believed.
It is a time for “team building” within our own company as well as strengthening relationships with current suppliers, and discovering new designers. Just being there envelops your senses in the latest and most rarefied fashions to hit the jewelry industry.
As expected, turn-out was much more conservative this year, with turbulent economic news on everyone’s minds and the unfortunate reality for many manufacturers and wholesalers that the financial expenditure of exhibiting, and for some, merely attending the show is no longer feasible (not to mention the scores of jewelers who have closed up shop permanently).
The previous year we had seen about a 30% decrease in attendance (utilizing our keen visual observance) as the first signs of economic trouble descended upon the jewelry industry in 2008. This year, 2009, as I strode the near-empty halls and conversed with fellow observant jewelers, it had seemed that we had not a 30% drop in attendance, but a 30% attendance rate compared to 2008 (in effect 70% or so less people walking the confusing, maze-like halls of the Venetian/Sands Expo where JCK houses its exhibition).
However, the exhibitors in attendance were focused, in jovial spirits, and in a good position to target the healthier jewelers that had made it to this year’s JCK, Apples of Gold, being among them.
After all, if you were able to tend, you were probably doing okay. There is a sense among many jewelers today that if you can ride this barrage of economic difficulties, you will be one of the stronger jewelers left standing.
Our first stop at JCK was with a current supplier that we had brought onboard only 3 months prior: gold and silver jewelry designer, David Tishbi. Their eclectic and unusual collection, handmade in Israel, had been a great hit for us and we wanted to meet them in person to discuss what we could do to improve our already successful endeavor with them. David Tishbi mixes bold, fashionable designer pieces using nickel-free sterling silver and 14k solid gold and rose gold.
We also met several fashion-forward designers, including Liz Donahue of Starhaven, whose beautiful silver jewelry line will be added to our designer collection, we hope, in the upcoming months, after having made an exclusive agreement to select and feature some of their top selling jewelry pieces on our website (items that can easily co-exist and augment the Apples of Gold brand). I also couldn’t help but pick up one of their pieces for my wife, whose birthday falls a week after JCK ever year (lucky her!)
Along with several other gold jewelry pieces that we had to fill in from manufacturers who either went out of business over the course of the year, or categories that had been previously underdeveloped, we made many potential successful points of contact to fill these categories with new lines of gold pendants, gold bracelets, gold earrings, and many other of the classic gold jewelry lines that are must-have staples for any serious gold jeweler.
A more daunting task: we also have been attempting to source a quality, affordable, socially conscious diamond supply, with conflict-free diamonds from a reliable source. We made some promising strides in securing several suppliers and socially conscious diamonds are now available from Apples of Gold as loose diamonds by request. The greater challenge is securing new lines of socially conscious diamonds in many of our finished pieces also.
To this effect, we met with Unique Settings of New York to bring on hundreds of new diamond engagement rings and semi-mount. Look for a strong and contemporary line of high-end, handmade diamond engagement rings to come from Apples of Gold over the course of the next few months.
With many more opportunities to come this year, Apples of Gold has and will be expanding its jewelry line more this year than ever before. We are thankful that we have been able to do so in light of the current economic climate.
Look for upwards of 700 or more new pieces to come out of Apples of Gold Jewelry in the remaining part of 2009 alone! And with each piece, there will be a pledge of affordability and quality–as well as fine, designer pieces that you will not find at any internet jewelry retailer.
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