A Bit of History:
When I was hired in 1977, My Jewel Shop was one of the few custom design jewelry stores in the area. I was a young enthusiastic employee, with a passion to learn everything I could. There was no limit to my opportunities, and I was exposed to every aspect of the business. The more educated I became, the more I fell in love with the jewelry industry. Our unique ability to marry nature with man’s talent and create wearable art to last for generations is creatively rewarding, as well as sentimentally beautiful.
My very first jewelry trade show at the enormous Javits Center in New York City was an experience I will NEVER forget. Just imagine walking into a convention center filled with thousands of jewelry manufacturers from all over the world bringing the best of what they do. I was blown away! There were no words for the beauty and creativity our industry was capable of. There were no words for the amount of value in merchandise within one building. There were no words for the incredible diamonds and color gemstones. I was completely sucked into the AMAZING world of jewelry!
Forty years later:
Our day began very early (daylight savings…even lost an hour!), doggie drop off, Wawa to caffeinate, and we were in New York when the trade show opened at 10. This year they combined three trade shows into one. My first stop was to treasure hunt for beads/pearls and who knows what, so Mary and I can create fabulous necklaces combining all kinds of cool stuff. I never know what I will find, and I somewhat design while I shop to be sure I have all the elements. I always buy way too much, spend much more than I expect, but never have regrets once we start creating the necklaces. Just writing this blog and talking about the beads gets my heart racing! Next were gemstone dealers to tempt us with natures finest. Even using my self control, (I’m soooo weak when it comes to gemstones), I had to buy too much. These will be used for the My Jewel Shop one-of-a-kind pieces. It is these stones that get my creative juices over flowing. People sometimes wonder if I ever run out of design ideas…NEVER! Next was looking for specific customer needs…we love being your personal shopper!
While walking the show these amazing carved gemstone birds caught my eye. Rob is a bit superstitious when it comes to birds (blame Hungarians). Let’s just say, stop in if you want to see the coolest carved gemstone birds ever! Had some appointments with our favorite companies (felt good to sit down), and bought great new merchandise. Pink gold is definitely hot! Checked into our hotel (view of the city and the Hudson River!!!!!), and dinner at an awesome Italian restaurant with my bestie, ended day one of our buying trip. Day two we continued our search for customer calls, did more buying and found a few new companies we expect to do business with in the future. We were done at 3:30 and made it through the Lincoln Tunnel by 4! No New York TRAFFIC!! An absolutely PERFECT trip!
What didn’t feel good on this trip, was to see our industry shrinking right before our eyes. Instead of thousands of exhibitors, there are hundreds. Our show guide used to be thick like a telephone book, now it’s more like a booklet. Today, so much jewelry is computer generated and goldsmiths like Rob are a dying breed. The younger generations do not want to learn the jewelry trade. They do not want to learn how to engrave jewelry, they do not want to learn how to fix watches. This frightens me.
My Jewel Shop would never be able to give the service we offer our customers, if there was no Rob. His golden hands are what drives our business and separates us from the big box stores. My hope is, as our industry continues to shrink, some will choose to continue the old school trade. We must recognize and have a better appreciation for the talent and ability necessary to create beautiful wearable art…known to us, as jewelry. This is an industry that must never die!