Leaping forward: Innovation and education
As with past years, JCK Las Vegas remains a prominent stage for major debuts. This year, crowds were able to check out new technologies such as Halojem, a retail product by Jewelers Mutual Group that enables users to create and view a hologram of their piece, customized of course, projected through a clear plastic pyramid. The program also features a social component where users can e-mail the design and share with others. With the same plastic pyramid, the hologram can also be viewed anywhere when projected from a handheld device.
Apps such as Sarine and Virtual Diamond Boutique demonstrated how they take retail inventory stress away with digital global gem catalogues. Users can make customized searches, view images and gemmological reports, and use in-app communication features to source stones and finished jewellery pieces.
For attendees with impeccable hand-eye co-ordination, visitors to the Stuller booth could try sorting natural and synthetic diamonds with state-of-the-art screening equipment.
“All of the big tool manufacturers, suppliers, packaging companies, and business services were at the ‘Essentials’ area, many giving demos of their latest technology,” says Kate Hubley, a Montreal-based gemmologist and owner of K8 Jewelry Concepts Bijoux. “This was the perfect opportunity to ask questions and do product/cost comparison. Whenever I am in the market for new tools or packaging, I leave with a very clear view of what is the best solution for my needs,” she adds.
The 2017 edition of JCK featured various panels and breakfast lecture series. From learning how to maximize your social media reach through Instagram with Jennifer Shaheen’s standing-room-only panel, “Hands On Social: Instagram,” to Martin Rapaport’s daily talks on online diamond trading, safety and the state of the diamond industry, education remained a central component of the show.
Indeed, for some, it’s one of the main reasons for attending. “JCK puts together a great line-up of presentations by industry influencers who delve into every aspect of the jewellery business from sustainability and ethics, to marketing and trend-forecasting,” says Hubley.
“You get a real sense our American counterparts are great at giving equal importance to creative endeavours and business viability, which can be beneficial and motivating for Canadian designers,” she explains.
CanadaMark celebrates 1-5-0
As the 2017 CanadaMark design contest came to an end after weeks of casting votes, finalists were brought together to showcase the finished pieces celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday. At an exclusive cocktail party held at the Four Seasons Hotel on June 7, Dominion Diamond Corporation. announced this year’s winning design. Pramendra C. Baid of Montreal-based La Pierre Précieuse Inc., took home the title and coveted prize—a stone carving by Wayne Nataway entitled, “Transformation.” The winning pendant’s intricate design clearly stood out among the rest as an ode to Canada’s iconic natural beauty.
“As an immigrant and very proud Canadian, this award is special to me, coming as it does while Canada celebrates the 150th anniversary of confederation,” says Baid. “When designing the piece, I wanted to capture the essence of Canada. For me, that meant something simple, confident, refined, and multi-cultural.” I was inspired by Canada’s natural beauty as symbolized by the maple tree, which is present throughout our great country and by the purity of our Canadian diamonds. I also wanted to incorporate our national colours,” Baid added.
Featuring a 0.4-carat round brilliant-cut CanadaMark diamond in a warm maple rose and white gold maple leaf lattice-work setting, the pendant also features hand-stained Canadian maple wood inlay.
Since the announcement was made, the pendant has been purchased by Dominion Diamond and awarded to an individual selected at random from the votes cast.
In addition to unveiling the CanadaMark winner, Dominion Diamond also revealed Arctic Sun, a fancy yellow diamond recovered from the Ekati Mine’s Misery main pipe in the fall of 2016. Dominion Diamond partnered with a client to create a 30.54-carat (65.93-carats in the rough) fancy vivid yellow VS1 polished diamond. To date, the Misery pipe has yielded multiple fancy yellow and orange diamonds ranging in value from $10,000 to $150,000 per carat. However, Arctic Sun is the largest fancy yellow stone recovered in North America and has an estimated value of $5 million.