Highlights from JA New York Jewelry Trade Show Spring 2016

In order to network with jewelry retailers and designers who might need jewelry marketing services, I recently attended the JA New York Spring 2016 show.

Have you ever been to a bazaar or seen one depicted in a movie? Attending a jewelry trade show was more like spending an afternoon at a bazaar than I thought. Vendors eager to make a sale called to event attendees, and I witnessed some expertly-performed wheeling and dealing.

JA New York is a major jewelry trade show organized by the Jewelers of America and showcases more than 500 designers, suppliers, and brands. I was surprised to learn that JA New York is the only jewelry trade show that takes place in New York City. Unfortunately, the show is only open to those in the jewelry industry and not to the general public.

I was lucky to see stunning finished jewelry, gold, and gemstones, and I wanted to share my finds.

Bespoke, Upcycled Jewelry

First, I was completely charmed by Alan Anderson‘s bespoke and hand-signed couture pieces made from vintage crystals and stones. I exclaimed “Wow!” when I approached his booth. I was impressed to learn that Dame Elizabeth Taylor owned one of his amethyst cuffs. The necklace in my featured photo, as well as the cuff pictured in my Flickr photo album below, are from Alan’s collection.

Lovely Larimar

Next, I loved the larimar from Aziel. If you’re not familiar with larimar, it’s a light-blue stone mined in the Dominican Republic. It was discovered in 1916 but not marketed and sold until the mid-70s, when miner Miguel Méndez named it after Larissa, his daughter, and “mar,” the ocean. A high-quality piece of larimar will look like the surface of the rippling blue sea. The picture in my Flickr album below shows strands of larimar beads that could be made into bracelets or necklaces.

Jewel Tones and Unconventional Shapes

You’ve probably guessed that I’m attracted to bright colors. Angelique de Paris caught my eye with their bright and bold use of jewel tones and unique shapes. Designer Angelique writes on her website, “Jewelry is an art form that reflects the wearer and the uniqueness of natural gems. I seek the most flattering colours, cuts and gemstones to bring out a woman’s beauty.” Her jewelry makes me want to travel the world and enjoy many cultures and traditions.

In general, I was excited to see an abundance of beautiful tourmaline, one of my favorite colored gemstones. Have you ever been to a jewelry trade show? Do you think you’d brave the crowds to see the beautiful offerings?

JA New York Spring 2016

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What Do the Terms “Precious” and “Semiprecious” Really Mean?

The word “precious” recalls images of Gollum saying “my precious” when referring to the Ring in The Lord of the Rings. I can hear the creepy Hobbit’s voice echoing in my head.

What do you think of when you read the word “precious”? Merriam-Webster’s definitions include “worth a lot of money” and “greatly loved,” two qualities that aren’t always mutually exclusive.

In gemology, “precious” and “semiprecious” have nothing to do with creepy fantastical creatures. For many years, the term “precious” referred to:

  • Diamonds
  • Rubies
  • Sapphires
  • Emeralds
  • Pearls
  • Opals.

These gems, prized for their colors and physical properties, were often worn by royalty (think about the colors associated with kings and queens).
On the other hand, semiprecious stones are all other cut and polished gemstones that aren’t considered precious. Here’s an excellent guide to semiprecious stones.

In retail, the terms “precious” and “semiprecious” are being used less frequently, but a shopper still might encounter them. As you can imagine, calling one product “precious” and another product anything less than precious isn’t the best jewelry marketing strategy.

In many progressive retail settings shoppers will see stones separated into two categories: “diamonds” and “colored gemstones.” Pearls may also comprise another category. Given all the confusing terminology, shoppers should reinvent the terms for themselves. Save “precious” for the Hobbits and own the idea behind the word.

Until very recently, I considered amethyst to be the most precious gemstone (until the 19th century, when amethyst was discovered in bulk, it actually was considered a precious gemstone). Amethyst is my mom’s birthstone, and the deep purple color is calming.

Now the stones I consider to be precious are my quarter-carat emerald-cut diamond, my half-carat tanzanite (my boyfriend’s birthstone), and my eternity band with almost all the colors of tourmaline. I’m sure that one day another precious stone will enter my life.

What stones are most precious to you, and what are the circumstances that make them so well loved?

Cover photo by Alakazou1978