75°F
weather icon Clear

Sparkling takeaways from jewelry trade show

Vegas is known for bling, but this past weekend was even more blingy than most. More than 20,000 lapidarists, designers, wholesalers and other experts in all things exquisite and glittering filled the Mandalay Bay Convention Center to attend one of the country’s largest annual jewelry trade shows, which ended Monday. Attendees at the Jewelers Circular Keystone, or JCK for short, were surrounded by countless gemstones — impeccably faceted, mounted on precious metals or lustrously rolling loose in trays.

From $35 tiger’s-eye rings to $50,000-plus diamond earrings for the 1-percenters, the show’s acres of baubles spanned the luxury and fashion markets.

“We say that if it doesn’t show here, it doesn’t exist,” joked director Katie Dominesey.

While the dazzling confab is for industry only, we spotted a few key trends that will be putting a sparkle in people’s eyes in the months ahead.

Lab-grown diamonds

How does one clone a diamond? By placing a small slice of the original next to a carbon-rich plasma that then absorbs its properties, said Diamond Foundry’s Maarten de Witte. The resulting gems are not your mother’s cubic zirconia: They’re molecularly identical to mined diamonds and are increasingly being used in fine jewelry. (One marketing campaign calls them “A Girl’s New Best Friend.”)

Critics worry labs like Diamond Foundry are fooling customers into buying something that’s not a ‘real’ diamond. But with concerns mounting about the environmental and human rights cost of mining, these companies say they’re offering an eco-friendly, conflict-free alternative at a fraction of the price.

Same-sex wedding bands

Last year’s Supreme Court decision on marriage equality means wedding bells are ringing for more LGBT couples than ever before.

Those couples often have special concerns when choosing an engagement ring, said designer Rony Tennenbaum, who has been crafting modern, fashion-forward commitment jewelry for same-sex couples since 2008. “They’re dealing with different questions: ‘How do we propose to each other? Do we have to get matching rings?’”

Tennenbaum’s gender-flexible line of engagement and wedding rings features streamlined, often-asymmetrical designs in yellow, white and rose gold with black and white diamonds. The Tie the Knot collection includes a slender, diamond-studded knot ring that can be stacked with a matching band for a modern wedding set, while his signature LVOE collection carries an egalitarian message: Love is love, no matter how you spell it.

The designs appeal to straight couples as well, and though Tennenbaum was a pioneer in this niche, he expects he’ll soon be joined by others. “We are growing these etiquettes as we speak,” he said. “They are brand new to everyone.”

Natural and organic forms

Three standout young designers in the show’s Kickstarter section showed lines inspired by nature — but with decidedly different spins.

The large, striking rings in Katherine Dannenberg’s Convergence collection had a structured, sculptural feel, like wearing a small building on your finger. Handcrafted from silver and shibuichi — a copper alloy with the look of wood — they sat alongside statement necklaces made of interlocking steel spheres that resembled globes or seed pods.

Next door, recent California College of the Arts graduate Olivia Shih displayed her Mountain necklace, a chunky pendant on a delicate gold-filled chain. Resembling rough-hewn crystal, it was actually made of a feather-light recycled acrylic. “You have that visual weight without having a physical burden,” she said.

Vicky Lew, of Central St. Martins in London, was inspired by the ephemeral nature of birds’ movement for her Flight collection, incorporating vertical lines, rainbows of tiny Swarovski gemstones and an Art Deco feel. A brooch studded with sapphire, topaz, spinel and smoky quartz looked like an elegant, colorful version of Katniss Everdeen’s Mockingjay pin from the “Hunger Games” movies.

Jewelry, remixed

It’s an earring. No, wait, it’s a ring. No, wait …

Millennials are charging into the jewelry market and bringing their irreverent attitudes with them. The edgy look that started with ear crawlers and ear cuffs has evolved into pieces that are more difficult to classify — like a ring with a gold sheath that fits over the wearer’s fingernail, a la Lady Gaga.

Layering is key, said “Scandal” costume designer Lyn Paolo at a Friday panel on trends in the industry.

“It’s the way jewelry is progressing at the moment, being able to play with pieces and move them, where it looks like something but it’s actually something else,” she said. “It’s a puzzle, but then you see it on the body and it’s stunning.”

Jewelers are also starting to sell single earrings so you can mix and match them, said Shannon Adducci, a freelance fashion editor who styles for Departures and Billboard.

“The average consumer who’s younger doesn’t have as much money, so it’s really about trying smaller pieces that you can stack and add on to,” she said. “You have a generation that’s just starting out, and they have a different sensibility.”

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Entertainment Videos
Heavier traffic expected from EDC festival attendees
Electric Daisy Carnival attendees began to vacate the Las Vegas Motor Speedway starting before 5 a.m., the majority heading south on Interstate 15.
What it's like to skip the lines and fly by helicopter to EDC
What it's like to skip the lines and fly by helicopter to EDC. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
DJ Steve Aoki visits Las Vegas comic book store
DJ Steve Aoki visits Torpedo Comics in Las Vegas Friday, May 17, 2019, for a signing for his new comic book series "Neon Future." (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas Smith & Wollensky opens at The Venetian
After 18 years, the Smith & Wollensky location on Las Vegas’ south Strip closed in 2017, to be re-born two years later with a rib-cutting — instead of a ribbon-cutting — in The Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal)
Colin Cantwell, Creator Of Iconic Star Wars Ships Visits Vegas
Colin Cantwell, who created and designed such "Star Wars" ships as the X-Wing fighter, and Death Star, met fans at Rogue Toys in Las Vegas today. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Beauty & Essex in Las Vegas makes an EDC Wonder Wheel
In honor of the Electric Daisy Carnival, Beauty & Essex at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas makes its Wonder Wheel party-worthy. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Giada talks Vegas Uncork’d
Giada De Laurentiis talks during Aperitivo Hour, a Vegas Uncork'd event, at her Caesars Palace restaurant, Pronto, May 10, 2019. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Scenes from Vegas Uncork’d 2019 on the Las Vegas Strip
The 13th edition of Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit brought four days of food, wine, celebrity chefs and parties to town, May 9-12. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Three ingredients Gordon Ramsay can’t live without
Bon Appetit's Andy Baraghani interviews the "Hell's Kitchen" chef during a Vegas Uncork'd event at Caesars Palace, May 11, 2019. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas Uncork’d launches wiith bubbles and a blade
Dozens of chefs representing some of the Strip’s top restaurants gathered Thursday at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas to launch the 2019 edition of Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bunky the Clown at the clown convention
Bob "Bunky the Clown" Gretton talks about his life as a clown and the Clown Convention which was in Las Vegas at Texas Station this week. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Frying soft-shell crab at Lola’s in Las Vegas
At Lola’s: A Louisiana Kitchen in Las Vegas, soft-shell crab is breaded and fried and served either as an appetizer, po’boy or platter. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
The Stove in Henderson makes Pecan Pie Pancakes
At The Stove in Henderson, chef/partner Antonio Nunez stacks buttermilk pancakes with pecans and dulce de leche and tops them pie crust crumbs. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vinnie Paul remembered at Count's Vamp'd
The late rocker's favorite table at one of his favorite clubs in Las Vegas. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
4DX movie experience at Red Rock
4DX movie experience during a demo reel at Red Rock. (Christopher Lawrence/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
What To Do On May The 4th
There are plenty of events going on May the 4th this year around Las Vegas. Celebrate Star Wars and Comic Book Day all at once. The Rogue Toys, the 501st, Rebel Legion and Millennium Fandom Bar are all hosting fun events to help celebrate your geek-dom. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Water Sports Introduces New Attraction At Lake Las Vegas
Las Vegas Water Sports will debut its new aqua park attraction at Lake Las Vegas Days this weekend. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Making the Space Invader at Greene St. Kitchen in Las Vegas
Lysa Huerta, pastry cook at Greene St. Kitchen at the Palms in Las Vegas, starts with angel food cake, Fruity Pebbles ice cream and strawberry sorbet to create a space creature engulfed in flashing lights and swirling mists. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Pools
The M, Park MGM and NoMad are just a few great pools in Las Vegas. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jose Andres explains Iberico pork
(Al Mancini/Las Vega Review-Journal)
Inside Life is Beautiful
Craig Asher Nyman explains how Life is Beautiful festival is booked and talks about this year's line-up. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tattoo'd America Pops Up In Vegas
Tattoo'd America, a new pop-up attraction on the Linq Promenade, had their grand opening Friday. The attraction is dedicate to the culture of tattoos. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Jose Andres gets key to the Strip
Chef Jose Andres was presented with a Key to the Las Vegas Strip and a proclamation declaring April 26 Jose Andres Day in Clark County by County Commissioner Tick Segerblom on Friday. The ceremony took place at his restaurant Bazaar Meat in the SLS Las Vegas. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sadelle’s in Las Vegas makes a grilled cheese with an inverted bagel
Michael Vargas, executive sous chef at Sadelle’s at Bellagio in Las Vegas, inverts an everything bagel and grills it with Swiss, cheddar and Muenster cheeses to make the Inverted Bagel Grilled Cheese. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Learn how to make China Poblano's Salt Air Margarita
Learn how to make China Poblano's Salt Air Margarita (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tattoo'd America invites you to have fun and take pictures
Kassandra Lopez at Tattoo'd America invites you to have fun and take pictures. (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Prime rib is carved tableside at Lawry’s The Prime Rib in Las Vegas
Dave Simmons, executive chef of Lawry’s The Prime in Las Vegas, which plans special cuts for National Prime Rib Day, demonstrates the restaurant’s service from rolling tableside carving carts. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Making gluten-free pizza at Good Pie in Las Vegas
Good Pie owner/pizzaiola Vincent Rotolo makes his gluten-free pizza.
Rockabilly fans enjoy Las Vegas weather poolside
Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekender runs Thursday, April 18th through Sunday, April 21st with a huge car show on Saturday featuring The Reverend Horton Heat, The Delta Bombers and The Coasters. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Brownie sundae at VegeNation in Las Vegas is completely vegan
Donald Lemperle, chef/owner of VegeNation in Las Vegas and nearby Henderson, NV, makes his sundae with ice cream made with coconut and almond milks, a brownie made with coconut flour and oil and organic sugar and cacao, and fresh fruit. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST