Las Vegas Jewelry Shows: The People Edition

I’m experiencing a bit of withdrawal, now that I’m home from the JCK Show and Couture Jewelry Show. Jewelry so bright, each piece more impossibly beautiful than the next: it dazzles the eye. And Vegas itself is sensory overload. But I’m also missing the people. The connections you make can be just as dazzling.

Michael Pfeffer, Vicente Agor, Monica Stephenson

That’s me in the middle, with Michael Pfeffer on the left and Vicente Agor on the right. Photo courtesy of Zaiken Jewelry.

Salon 137 at Couture

I am the Editor of the Contemporary Jewelry Design Group’s website, This year, CJDG organized a salon at the Couture Jewelry Show, featuring seven CJDG member designers. I loved hanging out with Vicente Agor, who I guess is technically my boss as President of the CJDG, and Michael Pfeffer, his partner in crime design. Marylouise Lugosch is the Executive Director of CJDG, it’s always great to spend some time with her. There was also the always-lovely Jane Bohan, and Sara Freedenfeld with her jewelry that feels like spun gold from a fairy tale, Amali Jewelry. I met the talented Rebecca Overmann, enjoyed getting to know new member Deb from Dyanne Belle, and Zaffiro Jewelry‘s Jack and Elizabeth were gracious enough to grant an impromptu interview. And Malak Atut from Zaiken is my style-soul-sister and would-be dance partner (next time). It was nice to have a home base with entertaining people.

CJDG Booth Photo Bomb

This is the CJDG Salon, with Vicente photo-bombing, from left, Malak Atut from Zaiken; Sara Freedenfeld from Amali; and Rebecca Overmann. Photo courtesy of Cindy Edelstein.


On Friday night, there was a meeting of the minds, a jewelry writer’s summit, so to speak. It happened to be by the Lake of Dreams at the Wynn, and involved at least a few cocktails, so it was mostly just a lot of fun (with maybe a slightly surreal quality with the giant, singing inflatable frog).

What a Wonderful World Video

Shamila Jiwa was our version of Kevin Bacon–everyone there was connected through her, with less than 6 degrees of separation. To be clear, Shamila is much cuter than Kevin Bacon. She’s a talented jewelry designer I’ve written about here. Another designer in attendance was Wendy Brandes, also interviewed here. She’s even more gorgeous in person than her photos suggest over at her highlarious blog. I loved meeting her (even though I can never wear Herve Leger now), and her Empress Wu ring. Rounding out the jewelry designers in attendance, Katrina Kelly was intimidatingly beautiful and had a seriously great stack of bracelets.

Barbara Palumbo of Jeff Cooper Designs is funny, smart and drinks scotch. Which would be enough, really, but we bonded over similar taste in music and the fact that as tall women we unapologetically wear 5 inch heels. Brittany Siminitz from JCK Marketplace was there, and is as lovely and supportive as her tweets and posts. I’m still glowing from her “glamazon” comment. Erika Winters is a fellow Seattle resident who is a talented writer for her own jewelry blog and Pricescope. I stalk Cheryl Kremkow on social media, so it was so nice to meet her in real life. Elizabeth Brewer was also in attendance, and Jessica Cohen who runs the glamorous LupRocks, and had the idea to create the hashtag #VegasGems for our group, and put cute stickers on Ring Pops for us to hide and give out at the shows.

Vegas Gems

My #VegasGems, from left: Wendy Brandes, Jessica Cohen, Katrina Kelly, Brittany Siminitz, Me, Erika Winters, Barbara Palumbo, Shamila Jiwa, Cheryl Kremkow, Elizabeth Brewer. Photo courtesy of Brittany Siminitz.

Jewelry Celebrity Sightings

I was so happy to participate in a jewelry blogger trend discussion with author, jewelry designer, and InStore Editor, Beth Bernstein. It was great to compare notes with Natalie Bos of Jewels du Jour, and Robyn Hawk of The Daily Jewel, a tireless supporter of the gem and jewelry industry.

After several years of admiration, I finally got to meet Danielle of GemGossip. Her unerring edit of the shows was documented extensively through Instagram, I highly recommend following her here.

Jewelry Blogger Discussion at Couture

Jewelry Blogger Discussion Group for InStore Magazine: Danielle from Gem Gossip; myself; Beth Bernstein, Editor InStore Magazine; Natalie from Jewels du Jour; and Robyn from The Daily Jewel. Photo courtesy of Gem Gossip.

Speaking of Instagram, I caught fleeting glimpses of the actual Jewelry Biz Guru Cindy Edelstein at various places and events around the show, but mostly followed her escapades through social media.

I had a drink with Andrea Hansen, President Elect of the Women’s Jewelry Association, and met her partner at Luxe Intelligence, Courtney Cohen (Parasol Up or Down is the defacto meeting room of Couture).

And Janet Goldman, Founder and CEO of Fragments, could not have been lovelier. She has done so much for emerging jewelry artists and raising the profile of fine designer jewelry, it’s hard not to be awed in her presence.

Last, but definitely not least, I got to see my father, industry veteran and expert, Joe Isenhour at the JCK show. Everything is so much better with a hug from him. Love you, Dad!

I ran into countless retailers and designers that I know and love, and met many new ones.* Never underestimate the value of serendipitous connections, that is what life is all about, right?

Until next year…Viva Las Vegas!

*Ugh, I was not very good about getting pictures of me with everyone, there are photos out there, just not on my phone!

Share Your Thoughts!